Support, love and engage
UJIA Jewish Activities in Mainstream Schools (JAMS) has had an action-packed few months, bringing Jewish learning to life at schools up and down the country. Browse our photo gallery or read on to find out about how we celebrated Chanukah and much more...
City of London Boys School
The City of London Chanukah Party was, as always, an incredible event. It all began with an announcement on the tannoy throughout from our school receptionist...
"Shalom banim. I have a little dreidle, I made it out of clay, and when it's dry and ready, oh dreidle I shall play."
Fortunately 20 pizzas, 20 bottles of drink and 200 doughnuts did fit into a tiny Nissan Micra, (kind of), and as soon as it arrived, the crowds came pouring in. To the sound of Yaakov Shwekey and the Chevra blasting out from the speakers, teachers and pupils from various faiths poked their noses in - although the smell of the pizza probably had something to do with that. With everyone's stomachs fully satisfied, our very own Noah Nathan (former City boy) spoke to the masses on what Chanukah is really about. We hope everyone really enjoyed it. We certainly did. And on to our next big event... the Purim Party! (Josh Gertner, J-Soc chair 2010-11)
Haberdashers' Aske's School for Boys
Habs Boys J-Soc has gotten off to a roaring start. With an average nosh n' learn attendance of 50 boys (up from approximately 30 last year) and a succession of minyanim at the daily shacharit, this year is certain to be talked of in years to come. From the wonderful Rabbi Shaw of Tribe, who talked about the decline of Anglo-Jewry and what must be done, to the All-Party Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism, Habs has had a wonderfully rich and wide range of interesting speeches, of course accompanied by pizzas and the occasional falafel and pita. Events-wise, Habsboys has again been leading the field and the Bagel Bonanza was attended by over 115 boys and girls from Years 7 and 8, an experience much enhanced by the Shwekey playing in the background. This wonderful half-term all came to a climax at the annual Chanukah Burger Bash. Attended by a smashing 190 boys and girls (well, mostly boys) the event reverberated around the school and the supplies of food quickly ran out, as did the tickets on the door. The question still remains, can any other J-Soc match the Habs 10 foot inflatable chanukiah? Much bodes well for the coming spring term, including the new weekly kiddushes at shacharit and the Purim Shwarma fest. (David Gottlieb, J-Soc chair 2010-11.)
Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls
J-Soc is one of the biggest societies at Habs Girls and probably one of the most active J-Socs in the country, with a whopping three events a week. We have two lunch time discussion sessions, where around 25 Middle School girls (years 7-9) and 40 Upper School girls (years 10-13) usually put even the most inspiring speakers through their paces with strong opinions and challenging questions. On top of that, we have weekly assemblies for around 200 girls, alternating between talks given by us, spokespeople for charities, or thought-provoking rabbis. There are also regular events held in conjunction with our friendly rivals at the boys' school, for example, last term we jointly held a "Bagel Bonanza" and a "Chanukah Burger Bash" - and we are looking forward to hosting a "Purim Shwarma Shindig" next term. Habs Girls boasts a thriving Jewish community, one which we as a committee are thrilled to be a part of.
The Jewish Society at Highgate School has been a great success this past term, thanks to the incredible support from UJIA and, in particular, Shelley Harrod. The list of speakers on offer is huge, which allowed us to put together a diverse program really suited to the school's Jewish community. We had speakers every Monday and Friday for around 80 pupils, who really engaged with the topics. The program of optional speakers is very clearly set out and Shelley has been incredibly helpful, always offering productive and friendly advice and support. (Daniel Gerszt, J-Soc chair 2010-11)
Ilford County High School
Starting our second year as J-Soc chairs, we thought we knew what to expect from the lunchtime sessions at Ilford County High. However, this term has far exceeded our expectations and we have seen a near 100% turnout from the school's Jewish community (supplemented by some non-Jewish friends too). A succession of quality sessions, together with twice weekly assemblies on a range of topics from upcoming festivals to headlines in Metro, created our best term as J-Soc chairs (so far!)
There are no Jewish pupils in the two years below us and so our school faces the dilemma of appointing a much younger chair as our successors. However, the success of this term, combined with the constant assistance offered by Shelley Harrod at UJIA, has convinced us of the survival of our small but strong Jewish Society. (Stephen Harris, J-Soc chair 2010-11)
Mill Hill County High School
Just as light seasonal snow began to settle outside in the playground, at least 80 students from across the school were settling down in a classroom which, on Thursday 2 December 2010, played host to Mill Hill County High School's second ever Chanukah party. The question on the lips of those people unfamiliar with the festival appeared to be: 'so what's this Chanukah thing all about?', although the question 'when does the food arrive?' was equally popular.
And who better to answer that question than our guest speaker Rabbi Pete Tobias of Elstree Liberal Synagogue who shed some light on the festival, explaining why Chanukah lasts for eight days. The audience listened to his entertaining speech, breaking their silence only to attempt to answer the questions that Rabbi Pete threw at them - and to catch the chocolate coins that he threw their way. In the spirit of the festival, the students formed an orderly queue on their way out to receive an oil-fried jam doughnut each. Responsible for this hotly-anticipated 'nosh and learn' session was the newly-formed 6th form J-Soc committee including Lauren Good, Tovael Hagai and myself. In addition we would like to thank Rabbi Pete, Naomi Clucas, Lisa Baptiste and Shelley Harrod of the UJIA.
In its newly reinvigorated form, the MHCHS J-Soc committee hopes to offer a varied programme of monthly events, continuing with a session in late January to coincide with Holocaust Memorial Day, so watch this space! (Dan Hardoon, J-Soc Committee)
North London Collegiate School
Running J-Soc at North London Collegiate School has been an experience that will make my last year at school one that I will always remember fondly. The sessions are a definite highlight of my week and I look forward to the break time of relaxed learning and insight in my otherwise hectic school career. UJIA Jams has supplied us with a huge variety of session topics and speakers. Lunch and Learn provides the society with a unique environment where girls of all ages can eat, learn and debate. Moreover the inter-year relationships that are formed at J-Soc are very special.
We have had a huge variety of speakers from many organizations such as JWA, JAT, FZY, RSY, BA and many more. Our talk from Eli Benson the Chief Executive from Magen David Adom was my favourite session of the term as it opened my eyes to how lucky Israel is to have such an amazing and dedicated ambulance service. Throughout the year we hold assembles where we invite a speaker and present them as a committee. One of our favourite assemblies we gave was about Golda Meir and we thought it was particularly relevant to talk about her at our school as it was the first ever all girls school and Golda Meir was the first woman Prime Minister of Israel. The school also thoroughly enjoyed our regular visits from Rabbi Andrew Shaw of Tribe. One of the highlights of the year was our Chanukah entertainment where we were lucky enough to meet, Tom and Tamar, two members of Tzofim (Israel Scouts) who are working with UJIA on their gap years. A huge thank you is due to the NLCS J-Soc committee and to UJIA JAMS for all their hard work this term! We look forward to an equally successful 2011. (Gemma Ginsburg, J-Soc chair 2010-11)
South Hampstead High School
This term has been fantastic for South Hampstead High School's J-Soc. Each session has been filled with interesting speakers, fun activities and of course the extremely sought after smoked salmon bagels from Daniels. For us, the best session so far was Mitzvah Day as we had the biggest turn out at J-Soc yet! Not only were the Jewish girls involved, but many pupils from different faiths helped to decorate cards and donate their winter accessories to the charity. The Mitzvah Day speaker who was organised by UJIA JAMS had spoken to us a few weeks before and really helped us to understand what Mitzvah Day is all about and get us into the spirit of the day. We would like the thank UJIA, especially Shelley, for their amazing support in running our J-Soc and making sure that the Jewish students at SHHS can get together once in a while to learn, have heated discussions on Jewish life and ensure sure that the Jewish Ruach at South Hampstead continues. (Abigail Kropman, J-Soc chair 2010-11)