General Assembly – December 27, 2020
Name of Union Submitting Policy:
Board of the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS)
Representation has long been an issue affecting the accessibility of Jewish communal structures. For many years and too often a distinct lack of diversity and a clear underrepresentation is seen across a number of identity lines (age, gender, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness, denomination, ethnicity, et cetera). The initial phase of the Covid-19 Pandemic demonstrated how well equipped Europe’s young Jews are to take on leadership roles in their communities, with young adults all over the continent taking care of those in need. At the same time, communities often complain about the lack of youth engagement, which is often directly linked to the lack of representation, and thus the communities’ programming. Within this framing and given the role of EUJS as the umbrella organisation of 36 Jewish student unions across Europe, and being the central representation of 160,000 young Jews, steps must be taken towards institutionalising and boosting the representation of young people within such national-level communal structures.
- That national Jewish community boards are currently not representative of the community that they are, indeed, representing along several identity lines, including that of young people;
- That the current make-up of Jewish community boards in Europe and the extent to which they institutionally incorporate youth voices differ greatly from country to country;
- That the current institutionalised role of some member organisations in national boards should serve as a best practice model for future inclusion within communal structures in national contexts, if applicable;
- The clear underrepresentation of young people and youth organisations in the overwhelming majority of national Jewish community boards in Europe is an issue that directly affects EUJS and its member unions, but also the Jewish Communities themselves, making it an issue of importance for the future of European Jewry.
- As the representative umbrella body of 160,000 young Jews in Europe, EUJS must be vocal in standing up for the fair representation of young Jews.
EUJS resolves to:
- Establish a working group consisting of voluntary EUJS members, that is representative of the diversity of EUJS member unions, to coordinate and oversee actionable points towards generating greater inclusion for young people within national-level Jewish community boards in Europe.
- Conduct research on the current Jewish community board make-up so as to gain a more holistic overview to the situation, with a view to having a more specified plan of action points;
- Seek to build partnerships with other Jewish organisations to increase understanding in the importance of having more representative Jewish community structures;
- Carry out a concerted campaign in line with the determined action points from clause 1 to raise awareness of the issue of underrepresentation in Jewish community boards with a view to effecting position change on the topic;
- Calling on Jewish Communities concretely to have at least one Person under 30 on every Jewish Communities Board, with this representative being responsible not just for youth issues, but rather general affairs of the community.