Union of Jewish Students of the UK and Ireland

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The Union of Jewish Students (UJS) grew out of the Inter University Jewish Federation (IUJF), founded in 1919. IUJF was represented on the Zionist Federation, an umbrella organisation for the Zionist movement in the UK, and a constituent member of the World Zionist Organisation based in Israel, one of the four core bodies of the Zionist movement making up the quasi-statal National Institutions. The Zionist movement seeks to consolidate the State of Israel and to encourage people to settle there.

In 1973, IUJF was renamed the Union of Jewish Students. During the latter part of the decade, UJS ‘emerged as a leading force in the fight against those who attempt to demonise and delegitimise the State of Israel’.[1] UJS is a member of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS),[2] which is in turn a member of the World Zionist Organisation.[3] WUJS counts among its past presidents David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel.

Two objects in the UJS constitution make reference to Israel:

2.1.1. Creating meaningful Jewish campus experiences and inspiring Jewish students to make an enduring commitment to their Jewish identity, Israel, and the community.
2.1.5. Promoting tolerance and understanding between its Members, and encouraging an awareness of the problems of all racial and religious discord and tension, both at home and abroad, acting in accordance with the Union’s core values of cross-communalism, peer leadership, representation and engagement with Israel. [4]

UJS declares itself ‘proud to be an incubator for future leaders of the Jewish community and beyond, including Alan Senitt z'l, Israel Lobbyist for BICOM’.[1] Other notable former UJS members include Luciana Berger, former MP for Liverpool Wavertree, who played an instrumental role in the Labour Party’s ‘anti-Semitism crisis’.

The parent organisation of UJS is the B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation, a company with charitable status.[5] B’nai B’rith [Children of the Covenant] describes itself as an ‘international Jewish organization committed to the security and continuity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel’.[6] B'nai B'rith International is also a formal member of the Zionist movement as an affiliate of the WZO.[3] Hannah Rose, trustee of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundation, served on the executive of the WUJS (member of the World Zionist Organization) when she was president of UJS.[7]

In 2017, a six-month undercover investigation for Al Jazeera revealed that UJS was in receipt of money from the Israeli Embassy in London and that the union served as a recruiting ground for pro-Israel activists.[8]

UJS hosts the annual Israel Student Awards, which ‘celebrate the work of students on campus in engaging with Israel over the past year’. The most recent iteration of the awards to be convened in physical space was attended by the Israeli Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev.[9]

The UJS is the parent body for the Jewish Societies established on many university campuses across the UK. Jewish Societies (JSocs) on campuses across the UK are reportedly ‘led by a democratically elected committee of dedicated Jewish students who receive guidance, support and resources from UJS’.[10] The implication of this is that all Jewish societes affiliated to the UJS, and UJS itself, are a formal part of the Zionist Movement


Title Name Years in office University
President Sami Berkoff 2024-2025 Durham University
President Edward Isaacs 2023-2024 Bristol University
President Joel Rosen 2022-2023 University of Cambridge
President Nina Freedman 2021-2022 Bristol University
President James Harris 2020-2021 University of Birmingham
President Esther Offenberg 2019-2020 University of Birmingham
President Hannah Rose 2018-2019 Bristol University
President Josh Holt 2017-2018 University of Nottingham
President Josh Seitler 2016-2017 London School of Economics
President Hannah Brady 2015-2016 Kings College, London (BA); University College, London (MA)
President Ella Rose 2014-2015 University of Nottingham
President Yos Tarshish (Joe Tarsh) 2013-2014 Manchester Metropolitan University |
President Alex Green 2012-2013 University of Birmingham
President Daniel Grabiner 2011-2012 University of Leeds
Chairperson Alex Dwek 2010-2011 University of Manchester
Chairperson Adam Pike 2008-2010 University of Manchester
Chairperson Jessica Truman 2007-2008 Manchester Metropolitan University
Chairperson Jonathan Levy 2006-2007 University of Manchester
Chairperson Wallace Rosenberg 2005-2006 University of Manchester
Chairperson Dan Sacker 2004-2005 University of Manchester
Chairperson Mark Ross 2003-2004 Queen Mary, University of London
Chairperson Alan Senitt 2001-2003 University of Birmingham
Chairperson Ashley Hirst 2000-2001 University of Manchester
Chairperson Ruth Bookatz 1999-2000 University of Manchester
Chairperson Adam Dawson 1998-1999 University of Leeds
Chairperson Danny Newman 1997-1998 University of Oxford
Chairperson Susie Simmons 1996-1997 Manchester Metropolitan University
Chairperson Nick Cosgrove 1995-1996 University of Hull
Chairperson David Kaplan 1994-1995 University of Glasgow
Chairperson Tony Danker 1993-1994 University of Manchester
Chairperson Robert Sumroy 1992-1993 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Ian Myers 1991-1992 Manchester Polytechnic
Chairperson Howard Silverman 1990-1991 Keele University
Chairperson Jonny Mendelsohn 1989-1990 University of Leeds
Chairperson Stephen Kurer 1988-1989 University College London
Chairperson Paul Frosh 1987-1988 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Ashley Harshak 1986-1987 University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Chairperson Adrian Cohen 1985-1986 London School of Economics
Chairperson Simon Myerson 1984-1985 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Matthew Kalman 1983-1984 University of Cambridge
Chairman Sam Clarke 1982-1983 University of Sheffield
Chairman Sam Jacobs 1981-1982 ?
Chairman Danny Joseph 1980-1981 University of Leeds
Chairman Rowel Genn 1979-1980 Queens University, Belfast
Chairman David Waxman 1978-1979 ?
Chairman Moshe Forman 1977-1978 ?
Chairman Simon Caplan 1976-1977 University of Oxford
Chairman Mark Dines 1975-1976 University of Manchester
Interim Co-Chairman Melvyn Kay 1974-1975 ?
Interim Co-Chairman Andrew Jacobs 1974-1975 ?
Chairman Phil Shilco 1974 King's College, London
Chairman Alan Freeman 1973-1974 School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Chairman David Bloch 1972-1973 University College London
Chairman Rosalind Nysenbaum 1971-1972 Queen Mary, University of London
Chairman Arnold Wagner OBE[11] 1970-1971 Middlesex University
Chairman David Rosenberg 1969-1970 University of Glasgow
Chairman Alan Baker 1968 University College London
Chairman Gordon Hausmann 1967 ?
Chairman Alan Gold 1966 ?
Chairman Leslie Wagner 1965 ?
Chairman Mike Hunter 1964 ?
Chairman Justin Phillips 1963 ?
Chairman Prof Edgar Neufeld 1955-1956 ?
Chairman Mr Benjamin 1956 ?
Chairman Michael Saltman 1954 ?
Chairman Geoffrey Silver 1950-51 ?
Chairman Lionel Stoll 1933-1934 ?
Chairman *Chaim Herzog[12] 1941-1942 University College, London

Organisational entities

B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation