Lancaster University Jewish Society
News Lancaster University Jewish Society

News 2007

Holocaust Memorial Day 2007

The main event will be on the 25th of January at Lancaster Town Hall, the film "Paper Clips" will be on at the Dukes on Monday of that week, and on the Saturday there will be music and a commemoration at the Prior Church.

There will also be events on campus including a talk by a survivor and a film showing. Check back for details.

Rev Malcolm Weisman's first visit for 2007

Our Rabbi, Rev Weisman will be joining us for Shabbat on Friday the 26th of January and will be available to meet with people on the Saturday afternoon as well. So we have an idea of numbers, please e-mail the Jsoc if you wish to join us for shabbat.


There were two chanukah events, a JSoc one with Preston JSoc joining us for shabbat dinner / Chanukah / end of term celebration that lasted all night! And a community one on the Sunday. There are pictures in the Photo gallery.

The JSoc event involved shabbat dinner, chanukah donoughts for desert, chanukah gelt (lots and lots of chocolate money!) and many games of dreidel. This was followed by drinks, more donoughts, more chocolate money, a telling of the story of chanukah (with pop quiz questions!) by Eli (chair of Preston JSoc) and finally a long drawn out game of risk.

New Committee

At the AGM in December the following new members of the committee were elected:

  • Chair: Hannah Gainsley
  • Secretary: James Walton
  • Treasurer: Deborah Klein
  • Education: (filled)
  • Community Liaison: Robbie Smith

Best of luck to the new committee, and thank you to the out going committee


Annual Report 2005-2006

Executive Summary

The JSoc ran a number of successful events for members, a very successful Holocaust Memorial Day campaign aimed at the wider university community and participated in a large number of education and diversity events within the local community. We purchased and received some new assets including CDs, DVDs, books and a TV and DVD player for the lounge. This was all in spite of a number of difficulties after the break in and ransacking of the Jewish rooms around the time of the last AGM. We are still (after 2.5 years) waiting for Estates to solve the security and access issues.

Break in and impact

Around the time of the last Chaplaincy Centre AGM the Jewish Lounge was broken into and ransacked. This led to ongoing problem through out the year some of which are still continuing. The major impact was the closure of the rooms though term 1 last year as we were visited by police forensics and then started the long task of straightening up the rooms.

The JSoc faced difficulties including the space being unusable through term 1, and being unable to contact members after the new members list went missing during the ransacking/cleanup. As a result of the break in, the Jewish rooms have remained locked except when in use. This has disadvantaged Jewish students who found it hard to use the space outside of formal JSoc events – informal use being one of the primary purposes of the lounge in particular. We are still waiting for punch code locks for the lounge and kitchen doors to solve this problem. It’s now been over two and a half years since these security measures were first requested.

Events and activities

We ran a number of Jewish film nights though the year (with mixed success). We ran a very successful week of Holocaust Memorial Day activities on campus, including the creation of an “avenue of the righteous” commemorating those who saved people during the Holocaust and a set of trees with leaves signed by members of the university as a pledge to remember the day and take to heart the message. These trees were later moved to Lancaster Town Hall as part of the cities commemorations which we participated in.

We took part in the regular in Faith Share meetings with the other religious societies.

We hosted a speaker from the Friends of the Hebrew University and the Director of Public Affairs at the Israeli Embassy in London. We also ran an Israeli dance class with a visiting instructor. We celebrated Tu B'Shvat (Jewish New Year for the Trees) with a Tu B'Shvat Seder, Shavuot with an education event and run events related to Pesach for local schools (Pesach itself occurred outside of term time this year). We joined the community for Yom Kippur services and celebrated Succoth. We also held Shabbat dinners almost every week in term 1 and 2 and a few times in term 3 in 2005-6 and almost every week so far in term 1 in 2006-2007. In addition to assisting student teachers (mostly at St Martins) with classes about Judaism in their schools, we also visited Our Lady’s to present an hour session on Judaism to the A level RE class.


During the year the JSoc purchased a large screen TV and DVD player which are located in the lounge.

Jewish and Israeli films and CDs of cultural value we also purchased. We’ve been informed we can borrow further cultural and educational DVDs from the UJIA MAKOR Library in Manchester if we wish.

A number of books have also been purchased and others donated to extend the library. Two books of note include “The Lie That Wouldn't Die: The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion” by Hadassa Ben-Itto and “History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving” by Deborah Lipstadt. Both books are signed by their authors with dedications to the Lancaster JSoc.

We’d like to record a thank you to Wendy Bellany who has donated quite a number of books to the JSoc library over the past year.


Numbers do appear to be down this year and few people are attending regularly. This made in hard to find the number to register at the start of the year.

Andre Oboler
Lancaster Jewish Society, Chair

Holocaust Memorial Day

Stall at refreshers fayre on Monday (23/1/06). In the background you can see our trees. One of them is for a Rightous person (who saved people during the Holocaust). The others are filled with leaves signed by students supporting our pledge.

25/1/06 - Wednesday: Movie in the JSoc Lounge (Chaplaincy Center) at 3pm, all welcome and encouraged to attend.
Following the movie we'll be preparing for Friday... help from JSoc members welcome!

There will be a stall on Thursday (HMD, 26th of Jan) from 11 to 3 in the square where people can sign more leaves for additional trees. The trees for the Rightous people will be displayed in a pathway of the rightous on campus, our own version of the Avenue of the Rightous at Yad Vashem. This is part of this years HMD theme in the UK, "one person can make a difference".

Thursday night everyone is encouraged to attend the Candle lighting commemoration at Town Hall. The event starts at 6.30pm in the memorial gardens at the side of Town Hall.

Friday (27th of Jan) at 1pm we will have a talk by Malcolm Weisman, Senior Jewish Chaplain to Her Majesty's Armed Forces

Pledge: By signing this leaf

I remember the Holocaust and the genocides that have occurred since then.
I remember the victims and the survivors.
I remember the need to stand up and be counted.
I remember how the actions of one person made a difference.

I believe we should not forget:
We should stand up to those with no respect for people who are different
We should stand up against racism, homophobia, and other persecutions
I believe one person can make a difference

By signing this leaf, for a remembrance tree on Lancaster University’s "pathway of the righteous", I commit myself to doing my part now, and in the future. Be that attending a Holocaust Memorial Day event in future years, teaching the importance of remembering to someone else, or voting to keep racists out of public office - I promise to do my part, because one person can make a difference.

Term plan

18/1 - Jewish film night
20/1 - Shabbat, special guest Ketlan (Unite Against Facism)
26/1 - HMD activities
27/1 - Malcolm visiting for a JSoc and community Friday night
2/2 - Faith share - and interfaith discussion on prayer
3/2 - JSoc Shabbat, Theme: Education
8/2 - Anthony Green from Friends of the Hebrew University speaking
13/2 - Tu B'Shevat activitys
17/2 - JSoc Shabbat, Theme: Myths of Israel, Massada
22/2 - Dan Shamah (Israeli Embassy) speaking
24/2 - Shabbat UK
3/3 - JSoc Shabbat, Theme: Israeli Elections
14/3 - Purim
17/3 - JSoc Shabbat, Theme: The Jewish Calendar

This is what we have for starters... we also have a bunch of Israeli Music, Films and other goodies... so there may be even more events added if people want them. We also have a number of other guests who want to visit us this term... make sure you're on the mailing list and keep uptodate.

Shabbat Dinner 25th November 2005

This Friday (25th November) we WILL be having a Shabbat meal. Please let us know you're coming (if you can) by e-mailing the JSoc. At 3:30 we'll start cooking (it's fun, you can learn to cook, and... well we really do need the help!). At 4pm we'll be making chalah (if you want to learn how, come along), Shabbat comes in a bit before 5pm... for a change we're going to try lighting the cancels on time, so join us for this at 4.50pm sharp. Dinner is at 5:30 after a bit of a chat and some nibbles. Hope to see all Friday, the earlier you can come... the more you can get out of it.

Israeli Dancing and AGM

Tuesday the 29th November, Lunch time (1pm) in the JSoc

AGM - Wednesday 30th November, 6pm in JSoc

Time to start thinking about handing over to a new exec! There some exiting ideas for the rest of this year, but we need a new team to carry them out. It takes a lot to run a JSoc and specifically a lot of dedicated people on the executive. But so far we've always found them and Lancaster has always been one of the most active JSocs in the UK - despite its size.

Positions: Chair, Education, Secretary, Treasurer, Community Liaison Officer We may also want to add some or all of: Friday night officer, Food officer (so we can start organising those Kosher Chickens!), Israel Officer, Campaigns Officer, Holocaust Memorial Day Rep, Faith-Share Rep, Library Manager, Website manager, Publicity officer. (Ofcourse can combine some of those people want!)

Interested in getting involved? From a little (e.g. website) to a lot (e.g. chair) we need people! Have a chat to us about it before hand (at the Shabbat dinner or Israeli Dancing event or via e-mail if you're not sure)

Succot (updated 18/10/05)

A Succot meal till take place on Friday the 21st of October in the JSoc. Hope to see you all there.

Break in (updated 18/10/05)

On Friday the 14th the JSoc was broken into and ransacked. The Christian Libary was also targetted. It appears the purpotrator was after money (which we didn't have in the rooms) and went through all the locked or closed cupboards and draws. So far we haven't found anything missing, but the clean up is on going.

Pictures can be seen here.

Welcome Shabbat Dinner for new members sets record! (updated 18/10/05)

The first Shabbat dinner of the year saw a record turn out of 27 people. The large soup pot was emptied in one sitting for the first time in 2 years! With the exception of about 4 non student friends of the JSoc every one else was a student. Our traditional 50% non Jewish ration was also broken with the vast majority of people being Jewish - sounds to me like we need to get some additional non Jewish members if we want to keep our ratio in tact! (All interested people welcome!). Unfortunatly our second Shabbat dinner for the year (the following week) saw only 3 people and was then followed by the break in (see ahove). Hopefully with the high number of members we now have we can look forward to busy and productive year... but please do all keep coming.

Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Services

Services were held on first day of Rosh HaShanah and on Yom Kipur day in the JSoc Shule.

AUT Boycott

The AUT resolution supporting a boycott of some of Israel's leading higher education institutions can only be described as an outrage. It seems beyond belief that at a time of hope for peace to be achieved in the Middle East through dialogue and negotiation, the AUT votes to support an end to normal academic discourse. I believe that two golden rules should be followed when judgements are made - be they judgements about individuals, groups, organizations or states. First, clear criteria should be established which can be, and are, universally applied to all situations. Second, before actually making a specific judgement based on those criteria, all the relevant facts should be impartially established. In this particular case the AUT appears to have made no effort to establish universal criteria or to review situations in other parts of the world or to make any full and impartial investigation of all the relevant facts concerning the Israeli universities. For an organization of academics to act in this way is to betray the true spirit of education and learning. In the circumstances it is difficult to resist the conclusion that the AUT is guilty of discrimination.

Professor Stanley Henig
In the JSoc News letter, 18th May 2005

"An academic boycott of Israel is against the interests of academia and of students in the UK. This is what the National Postgraduate Committee had to say about the attempt by some activists to turn academia into a battle ground. A boycott proposed by some activists, supposedly on behalf of the Palestinian cause, sought to remove academic freedom from Israeli academics as the first step towards total delegitimisation and they hope the eventual total destruction of Israel..." continue in the Scan article on the AUT boycott

Please also see the AUT Boycott Resource Page which contains further information about the boycott including source documents not found else where on the web.

To join us (and others from across the UK) in a Peace vigil outside the Emergency AUT Council, please e-mail JSoc AT


The JSoc is organising a Seder for second night and inviting the rest of the Jewish community of Lancaster to join us. More details will be available closer to the time, mean time we can confirm we've been in touch with UJS who are organising discounted Kosher for Pesach food and educational material to support JSocs running Seders with year. In addition we applied to LUSU for additional grant funding and have recieved money from them to subsidise the costs.

Anyone wanting Kosher for Pesach food please get in touch with us as early as possible.

Reunion News

Thirty-five years ago HM Queen Elizabeth set foot in a shul for the very first time in the consecrated Jewish rooms at the then brand new Chaplaincy Centre at Lancaster University. Thirty-five years on from that occasion, the current Jewish Society are organising a reunion to bring together everyone who's set foot in that shul ever since - and everyone who's been in the Jewish society since its inauguration forty years ago at the opening of the University (though we can't promise that the Queen will be coming up again!)

The 40th Anniversary weekend has been planned for the first weekend in March, the 4th to 6th March 2005.

You can come for the whole weekend or part of the event, it is your choice. Accommodation is available either within the university for £15-£25 (for a single room per night) or £25-£42 (for a double room per night) or at Lancaster House Hotel, just outside the university grounds for a special Jsoc room rate of £65.50- quote that you are coming to the Jewish society Reunion for this special discount! We are leaving the choice of booking up to you, and though we are assured that there will be enough rooms for you all to stay in it is probably best if you book your accommodation asap. See below for further details on accommodation.

We are Corinne Gurvitz and Fiona Frank, and we are in charge of organising the reunion. We can be contacted on if you have any further queries along the way.

Here’s an idea of what we’ll be doing over the few days:

Friday 4th March
  • Gather from 5 p.m. for a candle lighting service at 5:30pm at the chaplaincy centre
  • A service for those who want it from 6-6:30pm
  • Prayers before dinner
  • 7:30 time for what we always loved about the jsoc- the food! After dinner speaker: Professor Eric Moonman, President of the Zionist Federation and Chair of the academic response to racism and anti-semitism,: ‘History, Memory and Change: the Jewish context’
  • After dinner, tea coffee and biscuits and chat

Saturday 5th March
  • 10am- morning service at the Chaplaincy centre
  • Buffet lunch and chat afterwards
  • 2-3pm, a walking tour of the campus; we can note the changes, and see how the university has come along and developed since you were last here! Includes a guided tour of the Ruskin Gallery in the beautiful Ruskin Library building which won the Universities section of the 1998 Royal Fine Art Commission/BSkyB Building of the Year competition.
  • 3-5, open discussion and memory share with Stanley Henig and Rev Malcolm Weisman, OBE (who were there at the opening!), followed by tea and cakes (seuda hashlishit)
  • 5:30ish, Havdalah
  • Free time until about 7:30, when we’ll be having dinner on campus

Sunday 6th March
  • Breakfast at your accommodation, and/or meet for brunch at 12 noon.
  • After brunch you are free to go, after hopefully having had a wonderful experience!

We hope to be seeing you soon!

Fiona Frank and Corinne Gurvitz

Full detail are available here.

Embassy Visit

Details of the talk were:
Speaker: Mr Dan Shaham
Director of Public Affairs, Israeli Embassy - London

Date: 22nd February, 7pm
Topic: 'The Way Forward - Israel, the Palestinians the International community'
Hosts: Jewish Society and Global Topics & Politics Society
Cost: Free to members (of either society) 1 pound for non members (this is GT&P's policy)
Location: Bowland North Small Lecture Theater (Someone can come past JSoc to collected people and walk them over at 6:50 if anyone would like this please let us know)

The talk was on 'The Way Forward - Israel, the Palestinians the International community' and explored prospects for peace in the Middle East and looked into how the international community can be a fair broker between the two sides. And whilst accepting that Israel has made mistakes in its conflict with the Palestinians, Dan argued that only by human rights organisations and the international community critically engaging with both sides can they offer both Israelis and Palestinians a better future.

"As a pluralistic democracy with freedom of press and opinion, Israelis are used to criticism and see it as a powerful tool for change. But focussing solely on one side as being the only side expected to deliver anything is misleading and unhelpful. Palestinians too must build for peace, speak the language of peace and reject terrorism if peace really is to be achieved."

"Ultimately, this conflict, is not just about Palestinian rights. It is about Israeli rights as well. Dead, injured and terrorized Israelis are also a humanitarian problem, and until our neighbours and the international community are willing to seriously accept this and deal with it, we will have difficulty advancing towards a peaceful solution. And whilst it is easy and convenient to blame Israel for all Palestinian woes, the greater challenge is to bring the necessary honesty to the Palestinians themselves, to encourage them to cast off the terrorists who are so tragically and catastrophically undermining their cause."

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