WUJS Congress creates post-COVID-19 'relief system' for Jewish students

"The greatest long-term challenge would be on the financial front with many of the feeder organizations for Jewish activism facing massive funding challenges," said WUJS president.

World Union of Jewish Students Congress (photo credit: FRAN FRIEDRICH)
World Union of Jewish Students Congress
(photo credit: FRAN FRIEDRICH)
As a conclusion of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) Congress that ended this week, over 200 international student leaders resolved that facing continued challenges from the coronavirus would require unity and solidarity from all its international members and partners.  
WUJS President Jonathan Braun summed up the Congress saying, “The common theme running through all our sessions was the crucial role of our organizations in the massive disruption that this crisis has presented. This can be seen in our social lives, our academic lives but also in our role as young Jewish activists,” he said.
Braun acknowledged that the greatest long-term challenge would be on the financial front with many of the feeder organizations for Jewish activism facing massive funding challenges.  
“The Jewish organizational world is in a state of monetary crisis that impacts upon all its links and there is no doubt that the student community is one of the weaker links because without live events and projects during the pandemic, our unions have little financial income of their own,” he explained.

Congress published a resolution that intends to create a “relief support team” to shape support possibilities for new initiatives that will respond to current and future needs among Jewish students. 
While the pandemic was certainly among the most pressing topics addressed at the Congress, held online this year regarding the situation, the participants coming from more than 40 countries discussed many other issues Jewish activists are currently facing around the world today.
Among them were online hate and antisemitism, gender issues, the Apartheid-Israel analogy and Holocaust memory.
“WUJS has fought and will continue to fight relentlessly for the safety and rights of Jewish students on campuses and in their cities,” said Braun.
A General Assembly followed the Congress and elections were held, leading to the vote in of a new board of 11 delegates from around the world, with Jonathan Braun reelected as President. 
“If there is one takeaway that I hope our student leaders embrace as we enter this new year, it is that they need to be secure in their convictions and beliefs, and never fear diversity of opinion," said  Naomi Mittelmann Cohen, Executive Director of WUJS. “It is only then that they truly can be Jewish leaders, build bridges and create a safe and inclusive space for all students”.