Summer U in Luhačovice for SAUJS execs
On August 24, SAUJS executive members Natan Pollack (national treasurer) and Cayla Urdang (vice chairman), travelled to the Czech Republic for the annual European Union of Jewish Students’ Summer U conference.
The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) is an umbrella organisation for 34 national Jewish student unions in Europe, representing over 200 000 Jewish European students. The Summer U conference is largest annual event EUJS host, which usually attracts between 200 – 600 participants between the ages of 18 -30, from all over Europe.
Summer U is a fun, vibrant event for students during summertime – where there are various activities, sessions, forums and parties throughout the day. This year, the conference took place in the small town of Luhačovice; and had around 200 participants from various European and other countries.
SAUJS’ role at Summer U
“The role of SAUJS was twofold: to develop and strengthen international ties with other Jewish student unions and to take a session on Israel Apartheid Week in South Africa, and share techniques SAUJS used to combat Israel Apartheid Week – namely ‘Give Peace Wings’,: Cayla Urdang told Jewish Report.
SAUJS aimed to educate and collaborate with Europeans’ about the growing notion of Israel apartheid, and how this notion so strongly reverberates in a South African context. The session took place on Friday afternoon, and was described by some of the audience as “the best and most attended session of Summer U”.
The session gave a basic background of the Jewish community of South Africa and then drew parallels between the differences of South African apartheid and what is claimed to be apartheid in Israel. The Give Peace Wings Campaign, which encourages constructive dialogue on campuses, introduced in 2014, was explained extensively.
“The response from the European audience was unbelievable – the floor erupted with a flurry of ideas, opinions and alternative views on South African techniques versus European techniques,” said Cayla.
“It was stressed, that each country battles anti-Israel politics in a unique way, however the desired outcome is consistent. It was stimulating to see the various methods being shared and understood by activists and trying to fuse these different methods to create stronger, more effective techniques going forward,” Natan told SAJR this week.
The discussions continued post the session, and the feedback SAUJS received was outstanding. Both Natan and Cayla feel the trip was utmost beneficial for SAUJS and have established both professional connections and friends across Europe.
Cayla Urdang, above front, showing some of the European
Jewish students the “Give Peace Wings” campaign
that SAUJS introduced so successfully during IAW 2014