EUJS Presidential Candidates 2021

EUJS Presidential Candidates 2021

The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) is excited to announce the candidates running for President for the 2021-2023 term. The candidates are Elias Dray, nominated by the Union des étudiants juifs de France (UEJF) and Esther Offenberg, nominated by the Union of Jewish Students of the UK & Ireland (UJS).

Find their Manifestos (in alphabetical order) below:

Elias Dray

Dear Unions,

My name is Elias, I am 23 and a postgraduate student of International Relations, Conflict & Security in Brussels, Belgium. As Vice-President of EUJS for the past 10 months, I am now running for President!

Jewish presence in Europe dates back to over 2000 years, and yet again we find ourselves at a turning point. We were the first Europeans, and now we are constantly challenged with narratives of victimhood. Still, neither the global pandemic nor antisemites took us down. Amidst global crises we grow, and to our detractors all across the continent, we send the simplest of messages: JEWS ARE HERE TO STAY! The thriving development of smaller communities over the past years is proof that our activism works.

I started my Activist journey in 2019 at the EUJS United Nations Seminar. Being involved with EUJS in the past two years, and attending all three seminars radically changed my conception of Jewish identity. After my term as Vice-President, I have decided to give back to the organisation. I firmly believe that the more we empower Jewish Students & Leaders, the better we will develop. Establishing a proper representation of EUJS, whenever possible, aimed towards non-Jewish organisations, will be one of my priorities. Putting to use my own relations with other organisations in Brussels, I will work towards coalition- and capacity-building with current and new allies. Only hand-in-hand with our non-Jewish partners will we ever be efficient in combating antisemitism.

This I have learnt through my involvement with UEJF, where I am National Delegate to International Affairs. I have been involved in this union for 2 years now. Together with other antiracist organisations we develop programmes and defend common values: from going to high schools to deconstruct antisemitic, racist and sexist tropes to organising cross-party demonstrations against racism. Such alliances are crucial for us, as Jewish Students, but also for Europe to become a safe space for all.

As President, I will ensure that EUJS advocates for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Middle East. Diasporic Jews have an unquestionable bond to Israel. Yet we are being called out for it on our campuses. In the media, articles about the conflict do not help Europeans understand what really happens there. EUJS has a role to play in helping you explain your Zionism and will for peace. I will always put forward a balanced point of view on the conflict through dialogue and facts; but never put my Zionism aside.

Exploring the complexity & beauty of our Jewish identity. Cultivating Holocaust Remembrance. Fighting bigotry, the far-right & the far-left. Raising a Jewish and enlightened voice in the public space. Much of my experience with my national union inspires me in my vision for EUJS. It built my involvement, and now motivates me for a powerful and proud Progressive, Young and Jewish voice in Europe.

I have confidence that together we can move mountains and take on the challenges that lie ahead for young European Jews.

Esther Offenberg

My name is Esther Offenberg, I'm a 23 year old Psychology graduate, I'm a WUJS Board member, former UJS UK & Ireland President, and Jewish activist and I am running to be your next EUJS President!

In the last year we have experienced our fair share of hardships, hurdles and moments of hopelessness - we need to revitalise the importance of community and proactive mindsets in every area of our work, so that Jewish students are supported and empowered today and tomorrow.

If elected, I will:

Focus On Union Engagement

• Reinstall Union Officer

• Organise three Union development accelerators

• Create comprehensive Union handbook

• Provide quarterly Presidents and Leaders Unite exchanges

Ensure EUJS' Long-Term Stability

• Build strong donor relationships

• Expand alumni network

• Grow political network

Celebrate Diversity

• Expand women's network

• Create more liberation networks

• Build interfaith relationships

EUJS has played a major part in my Jewish leadership and activism journey and it's time for me to give back and pave the way for our leaders of tomorrow.

During my five years of Jewish student activism, whether on a local level at my university, on a national level through my UJS presidency or on an international level as a re-elected WUJS Board member, I have learned how to successfully lead a Union, provide for our members and the importance of creating a young community across borders. EUJS is the sum of its parts, meaning we have to recognise each Union as a crucial stakeholder of our work. Covid-19 has affected Unions in different areas, so that a priority for my EUJS presidency will be effective engagement to uplift the incredible efforts of our local Unions in reviving and supporting their own communities.

Jewish students need to know their EUJS will be there for them, come rain or shine, and therefore more long-term measures need to be put in place to ensure EUJS' continuity. In addition to growing our political network for consistent high level engagement and support, I will expand our alumni network and donor relationships to secure community support through the many student and partner communities EUJS has served over its 40+ year journey.

Our Jewish student communities are a melting pot of diversity - not only will I expand EUJS' active women's network but also create other liberation networks for marginalised and underrepresented voices in our communities.

As part of acknowledging our diverse community, I will build more organisational interfaith and allyship relationships to ensure that European Jewish students are firmly embedded in the wider young student communities and can bring our experiences to the relevant tables. I am looking forward to continuing EUJS' strong political voice in fighting for change and representation and against antisemitism and discrimination.

Jewish students deserve to live an empowered life at university and beyond and EUJS should always be there for students, not only as a facilitator but as a platform for growth. I'm excited to engage with all of you throughout this campaign and look forward to hearing from you.

#Esther4EUJS #EUJEsther

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