University: University of Birmingham
Dates attended: 2002 – 2005
Course studied: Philosophy
Current Occupation: UJIA Israel Experience, Student Programmes Manager
After graduating from Birmingham, I spent an incredible year working as the UJS Midlands Fieldworker. I then spent 3-4 months at an ulpan in Tel Aviv, learning Hebrew. I was living on my own, making friends with people from all over the world, whilst spending lots of time on Tel Aviv beach with a fruit smoothie in one hand and a paint brush in the other!
When I came back from Israel, I was desperate to find a job at UJIA Israel Experience or anything connected to Israel as it is where my heart has always been. Nearly 8 years later, without sounding too cliché, I really do feel like my team are making a difference. There is still a really long way to go, but not many people can say they love their job and have a real sense of achievement when they leave their office at the end of the day (on good days!)
What two or three things did you take from your time at university that helped you get where you are now?
- Although I did not attend many J-Soc events, I did spend a fair amount of time going on UJS trips/seminars and then ended up working for UJS, which definitely helped me get to my current work place.
- Networking with other Jewish students was great as sadly it is often about who you know rather than what you know...
- Living away from home, independently, learning to budget, cook, wash...
What new and interesting Jewish experiences did you have that helped shape the person who you are today?
It started when I was 10 and joined my Youth Movement, Hanoar Hatzioni. That led to me going on camps, Tours, Gap Year, leading on camps and Tour. I went to a Jewish school (Immanuel College) which helped my Jewish upbringing, but also my family who are very traditional, Zionist with a strong Jewish identity. In terms of new experiences though, I believe networks through my job and other organisations who are always putting on inspiring new sessions/events, provoking new thoughts and Jewish experiences
What engagement with Israel did you have, if any, as a result of belonging to your university J-Soc?
I didn’t have a huge involvement with J-Soc, yet if I did attend events it would usually be a solidarity rally, standing up for something I already felt strongly connected to. Any other events I went to were mainly Booze 4 Jews or J-Soc Balls which while wonderful have no Israel connection.
Was your relationship with Israel effected by your J-Soc involvement?
Not by my J-Soc connection, but I grew stronger ties with Israel through UJS trips, I loved the Manhigut trip!
What was the cheapest/ most disgusting meal you remember eating (surviving on) whilst at university?
Not disgusting, but often meals were just a can of baked beans (had to be Heinz) and some melted cheese
What song reminds you of your time at university? If there is a specific song that reminds you of J-Soc or a J-Soc event even better!
‘All Star’ by Smash Mouth
What was the worst fashion faux pas you made whilst at university?
Living in Movement clothes, made the Jews think I was too geeky and the non-Jews think I was obsessed with Israel!
What was the best J-Soc event or experience you went to?
Have to say, I can’t think of any J-Soc events I loved, I struggled to like many of them! But one of my greatest trips during university was the UJS Manhigut trip and also UJS Conference, especially when Hadag Nahash attended! I enjoyed pretty much every UJS event I went to!