EUJS Board & Treasurer Candidates 2023

The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) is excited to announce the candidates running for Board and Treasurer for the 2023–2025. The candidates for Board, in alphabetical order, are Alexandre Liebhaberg, Ethan Gabriel Bergman, Hanna Veiler, Hannah Sarkin, Joshua Bonfante, Judith Offenberg, Lara Gutman, Máté Zsédely-Holler, Rafael Ruah Arie, Ron Stern, and Victoria Borochov.

The candidate for Treasurer is Caterina Cognini.

Find their Manifestos (in alphabetical order) below:


Alexandre Liebhaberg

During my childhood, my Jewishness was defined by a few festivals, dishes, and melodies. Yet, when I joined Jewish Student Activism, I found what I had been missing: a community with purpose, values, and a commitment to action. While I had been involved as a filmmaker in climate and human rights activism before, no other environment inspired me this much.

From International Relations Officer to Secretary-General at UEJB, I gave my all to the logistical, political, and cultural educational aspects of the ever-growing organization. Looking back, I am proud of the many achievements I co-led: we worked with the federal government to bring countrywide workshops against antisemitism to police departments, public hospitals, and justice officials; we brought testimonies of Shoah survivors to 40.000 people online; we fundraised 80.000 euros in resources to attain our previously unimaginable goals.

EUJS allowed me to envision our impact on an even larger scale and, through these action points, I want us to keep growing together:

1. As the Treasurer of the Belgian Jewish community, I experienced firsthand the intricacies of youth inclusion. I aspire to work closely with communities and put your unions’ experiences and sustainability to the forefront.
2. Inspired by Jewish heritage and culture, I want these aspects to permeate EUJS’ social media as well as create initiatives to highlight the diversity of our traditions.
3. After delivering workshops with the Anti-Defamation League and CEJI, I am convinced of the effectiveness of education on antisemitism to union members and national and youth organizations.

With a commitment to community-work, culture, and education, my journey in Jewish activism has lit the #aleXfactor within me to create a world rooted in understanding and dedication. For this and to give back to an organization that has done so much for me, I am running to be your EUJS Vice-President.

Ethan Gabriel Bergman

Through my activism with various national unions and as founder of MTMS, I have become a strong advocate for inclusivity, intercultural dialogue, equal representation and pro-active stances against ignorance. I firmly believe that my commitment and skills align with the goals and values of EUJS as to ensure positive growth.
 
A primary objective is to enhance the representativeness of endangered communities within Jewish Europe and extend our hand. Having witnessed the struggles faced by minority communities, I am eager to contribute my efforts towards amplifying their voices and ensuring their concerns are addressed effectively. I am determined to work extensively to create a diverse environment where all members of the Jewish community feel represented and empowered. We can grow together without losing our uniqueness.
 
The Toolbox - I firmly believe that education is key to challenging stereotypes, combating prejudice, and fostering acceptance. I am passionate about developing an online approach for educational programs, workshops, and resources that provide accurate and comprehensive information about Judaism, Jewish history, and the contemporary challenges faced by the Jewish community. By making such educational tools widely accessible, we can effectively counter ignorance for ourselves, and others, whilst promoting tolerance for the future.
 
Dugri-Debate - besides advocating for more transparency, I strongly advocate for a comprehensive/representative approach when it comes to public stances regarding developments in Israel. Evidently, the current events in Israel alienate the diaspora from the State and from itself. Recognizing the diverse perspectives within the Jewish community, it is crucial to foster an environment where open and respectful discussions can take place. Related, I am committed to promoting the “Dugri-Debate” platforms that embrace different opinions and discussions as to ensure that, regardless of the specific subject, that the views of the community are reflected in the drafting of EUJS's statements.

Hanna Veiler

Dear friends,

EUJS is a space where multiple European-Jewish perspectives meet. In this space, young European Jewry exchanges their challenges and negotiates their strategies and positions. With my candidacy for the EUJS board, I am determined to work hard and fully committed to ensure that our stories are heard, our challenges are taken seriously, and that Jewish students receive the support they need in their political work and everyday live.

I was born in a dictatorship and grew up in Germany as the child of immigrants and the grandchild of Shoah survivors. As such, I was taught very early that democracy, freedom and a self-confident Jewish identity can never be taken for granted. Today, I am an activist, political educator, and the president of the German Union of Jewish Students and I see it as my responsibility to bring more of our stories to the public. Furthermore, being a long-time union leader and long- time activist of EUJS, I bring concrete visions for a better reality for young Jews.

I want to establish an even stronger support system for our unions, strengthen our diplomatic skills and expand our political networks, create offers for mental support and provide new, creative formats for all this. You can find out more about my campaign in the upcoming days on Instagram (@hannaesther_).

Especially in view of the EU elections 2024, it is more important than ever to live up to a united and resilient Jewish community and give our stories a platform. I will do my best to fight all hatred and to empower young Jews from all backgrounds. So, let's rise up for Jewish life and fight for our future together. A future in which Jews can live in security and self-determination. Because #ourstoriesmatter and it’s time to make ourselves heard.

Hannah Sarkin

Background:
I have been a living and contributing to the Jewish community in Lisbon, Portugal for over 7 years. Throughout my life, I have been privileged to live in five different cities globally. Born in South Africa, my connection to Judaism has always been a fundamental aspect of my identity. I firmly believe in the power of youth in instigating meaningful change. Consequently, I have actively engaged in leadership roles, e.g. Board member - Jewish Youth of Portugal, World Jewish Congress Lauder fellow, Madricha, etc.

Involvement in EUJS and the International Jewish Sphere:
My involvement with EUJS includes active participation in seminars and events and contributing to various community activities – fostering motivation, creativity, and valuable experience, which will make me a strong asset to the EUJS board.

Vision and Objectives:Enhanced Communication: Ensuring greater communication amongst EUJS members through various facets to represent the views of European Jewry.
• Inter-Union Collaboration: Fostering more active dialogue and projects between member unions.
• Union Support: Support and promote the work of smaller unions.
• Equality and Equity: Advocating for enhanced equality and equity among all EUJS members.
• Empowering Women and New Activists: Creating dedicated workshops and shabbatons to provide spaces for women and new activists to engage and thrive.
• Combating Hate Speech and Extremism: Creating awareness and educational campaigns to combat antisemitism, antizionism, and all extremist views, in addition to promoting IHRA at universities and schools.
• Interfaith Dialogue: Encourage more interfaith meetings/events to foster mutual understanding and cooperation.

With my passion, experience, and knowledge, I am confident in my ability to uphold EUJS' ethos.

EUJS represents you – your strength, your diversity, your beliefs.
Shaping the future starts with us, today, together, united.
I want to represent you to do this better.
Thank you for considering my candidacy.

Joshua Bonfante

You know that exciting and scary feeling of taking the next step, after you’ve done something you love for years, all building up to one moment?

The name’s Josh. I was just a British-born Italian-grown Jewish London kid who, at 6 years old, moved to a small Italian city called Savona, with the closest Jewish community being 1 hour away. And yet, I found friends all over the country and made them my second family.

At 19 I discovered the wonderful world of UGEI and oh, it was love at first sight.

After my first international event, I rapidly started growing deep connections with young Jews from other countries, understanding the value of a pan-European network, getting deeper into the functioning of different Unions work and their specificities. I immediately had a clear vision, a way to bring International networking to the Italian Jewish landscape. And now this British-born Italian-grown kid has turned into a fully experienced and determined Jewish activist.

I hope my experience speaks for itself, from event management to the implementation of social media strategies. Throughout the years I’ve learned the importance of the art of diplomacy and compromise, all accompanied by experience in bureaucratic affairs and
institutional representation.

Growing up in a small community showed me the necessity of having help to guide and elevate you, pushing you towards your full potential. EUJS needs to be this figure. That’s why small and developing Unions are so close to my heart, and that’s why I’ve always stood up for these, wanting not only to help but to give all I have in ensuring their success. And I want to continue doing so, by expanding the Union Accelerators and being the bridge to unite and truly bring us together in new ways.

See you all at the GA!

Judith Offenberg

I am a Berlin-born Israeli and studied in London and Cambridge, where I was the President of my Jewish student community, founded several Jewish societies and am the current Vice-President of WUJS. With six years of dedicated engagement in three countries
at the national and international level, my understanding of the challenges and aspirations of our diverse membership positions me to effectively represent and advocate for your needs and concerns.

One of my key priorities is to push for the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition on university campuses and in sports. It is crucial that we create an environment where European Jews feel safe and supported by ensuring that antisemitism is effectively recognised and combatted.

As the last survivors of the Holocaust are regrettably passing away, it is of utmost importance to focus on Holocaust education and remembrance by promoting educational programs, commemorations, and initiatives that educate both the Jewish community and wider society. 

I believe in expanding EUJS's reach beyond the core focus of student activism, as creating a space for young professionals acknowledges our journey with EUJS beyond university life. Integrating their experiences by fostering leadership development, networking opportunities and mentorships, enriches our collective potential and ensures EUJS’ relevance.

Lastly, Israel engagement and diaspora advocacy are integral to EUJS's mission and our collective identity. I possess the unique ability to bridge the Israeli community and the diaspora and will work to establish meaningful connections, promote dialogue and foster a sense of shared purpose.

I am excited about the opportunity to serve on the Board and am confident that my blend of experience, leadership and vision, centering on inclusivity and continuity, can have a meaningful impact to ensure that EUJS remains at the forefront of empowering young Jews and shape a brighter future for all.

Lara Gutman

My name is Lara Gutman and I am thrilled to submit my candidacy for the EUJS Board. With my involvement in Jewish initiatives, my studies in International Relations, and professional experience, joining the EUJS leadership is the natural progression in my journey.

I have been involved in EUJS since 2019. It has played a transformative role in my leadership development through my participation in seminars and contribution to the Never Again Right Now campaign. As a founder of FEJJE, I have an adaptive focus, and know firsthand the importance of diversity and the need to listen to all voices equally.

I am standing to be your Board member because I want a more transparent, overarching, creative, empowering, and activist EUJS - with stronger unions at its heart.

Leadership
Leadership should lift and give you tools to thrive. If elected, I will lead by example, emphasizing horizontal leadership, transparency, and open communication. I am eager to represent your needs and priorities by engaging with stakeholders, unions, and individuals alike.

Empower unions
I promise to empower unions to build vibrant, innovative communities. I want you to become actors of change, organizers, and leaders. I will give you the resources and skills to create tailored events and seminars that reflect your specific needs.

Activist involvement
I promise to increase EUJS and member unions’ involvement in activist settings. Drawing from my own experiences as an activist, I understand the challenges and joys of this role. I believe in fostering an EUJS that consistently confronts extremism, and am dedicated to becoming a strong voice during my mandate.

If elected as your Board Member, I will always be there for you, and harness the collective energy of our activism. Together, we will create an inclusive and empowered community with dedicated leaders and passionate members.

Máté Zsédely-Holler

Over the past two years, I've served on the EUJS board, an experience that's greatly influenced my social life and personal growth. With unfinished projects and an enduring drive to contribute more, I'm running for re-election.

Having lived in Hungary, Denmark, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, I've witnessed the diverse challenges our Jewish communities and Unions face. Across the spectrum, extremism is on the rise, not just within our public institutions like parliaments but also in educational settings such as campuses. Alongside this troubling development, smaller communities and unions struggle due to insufficient and stubborn historical structures for fostering Jewish youth, where for years there have been no minyanim. EUJS's strategic plans must address these issues as a priority.

As a board member together with the wider organization, I've fought for these ideas, combating neo-Nazis and far-right extremists in Hungary, countering BDS influence in student organizations, and bolstering youth participation in European communal and political life. Since I started at EUJS, its growth has been remarkable, and we have attained numerous accomplishments that fill me with pride. Nonetheless, there is still much work to be done.

If re-elected, I pledge to:

• Implement a new engagement framework within the Board, dividing certain responsibilities to improve communication and streamline decision-making processes.
• Advocate for EUJS support towards more inactive unions, integrating them into our programs
• Facilitate more collaborations with both Jewish and non-Jewish organizations
• Foster creative initiatives like 'The Lowdown' 
• Build a more inclusive and active EUJS for everyone.

Your vote will enable me to continue to serve our common interests. #Máté4EUJS

Rafael Ruah Arie

Since 2015 I have been attending EUJS events. The gratitude I have for EUJS over all these years can not be expressed in words, since it has been giving so much, that I believe its time for me to return the favor and give back by applying to become a Board member.

Coming from a small community EUJS has allowed me to meet Jews from a variety of nations, cultures and ideologies. It has given me the opportunity to learn how the Unions and Agencies in the Jewish world work. Therefore, due to the network I have established I believe I would be an asset to help on whatever issue that may arise. 
Portugal has a growing active Jewish community in which I am the President of JYP (Jewish Youth of Portugal) and a Board Member of CIL (Comunidade Israelita de Lisboa). It would be of great honor to represent a worldwide respected institution as well such as EUJS. 

Many decisions in the past at EUJS were questionable and one of my goals is to make sure everything is more transparent and that it protects the views of majority of the Jewish students that live in Europe. 

I am motivated to be a board member because I believe I will represent all of you in the best manner possible and apply my acquired skills to ensure the best outcomes in the next 2 years.

Ron Stern

My name is Ron, and I'm running for a position on the Board of EUJS. This is my first time running for a Board position, and I intend to face this challenge head-on. 

As a longtime member of the Czech Union of Jewish Students and its board, I have  contributed greatly to the improvement of the organization, the growth of activities, and the increase in membership. Thanks to our joint efforts and achievements, the Czech Union of Jewish Students was awarded the "Developing Union of the Year" award in 2022. I believe that my experience, leadership, and knowledge will further contribute to the functioning of the EUJS as a diversified yet unified platform for young Jews in Europe. 

I want to focus my efforts on smaller unions that often do not get the attention they deserve. Many times, these unions do not receive the proper recognition or even attention from their home communities. These unions must be part of the intergenerational dialogue in their countries and become the basis for progress in Jewish life. I believe that the Latin motto "Sic Parvis Magna" (Greatness from Small Beginnings) applies here. 

I also want to work on combating and preventing fake news, misinformation, and hatred that often permeate public life and enter the subconscious of the public. There is only one anti-Semitism, and it does not matter where it comes from. It is also up to us to combat these unfortunate phenomena and hate speech, both in everyday life and in political life, whether in the real or virtual world. 

It would be an honor and a daily endeavor to represent you, my dear friends, and to be your voice because it is you who make this community so diverse and beautiful. 

In varietate concordia 

Sincerely, 
Ron Stern 

Victoria Borochov

Being the President of the Austrian Union of Jewish Students has been an incredible honor and has given me the opportunity to not only grow as a person but as a professional. I am immensely grateful for the support and resources from my Union that have shaped my journey.

I am writing to express my candidacy for a position on the Board of EUJS. With enthusiasm and dedication, I am eager to contribute my skills and experience to improve the life of Jewish students in Europe.

As the first female Bukharian President of my Union I emphasized the importance of diversity within our community. Since I joined the Board in October 2020, I have dedicated myself to fostering Jewish life in Vienna. I have actively confronted antisemitism, addressing incidents in Austrian politics such as suing the head of the far-right party in Austria and cancelling events of the local BDS group.

Additionally, I co-founded NOODNIK, a magazine revitalized after a 20-year hiatus. It portrays Jewish student life and has become a cherished platform, engaging our members and fostering their contributions.

If given the opportunity to be on the Board of EUJS, I am committed to promoting diversity and supporting Jewish student unions across Europe. Ensuring the resilience and continuity of these unions is crucial. I aim to dispel the misconception that European Jewish individuals are solely victims of the Shoah. I want to portray resilience and resistance - my great-grandfather’s history of fighting in the red army inspires me to fight for a better Jewish life in Europe.

I would be honored to contribute my skills, passion, and my #BigVicEnergy to the European Union of Jewish Students as Vice President. Unity and collective action have the power to create meaningful change. 

Find the Manifesto of the Treasurer below:


Caterina Cogningi

My name is Caterina Cognini and I’m excited to run to be the next EUJS Treasurer! 

Originally from Italy, I’m a 23-year-old UGEI activist, and I am studying for a European Affairs master in Paris and London. Two years ago, I held the position of Policy Officer at EUJS and now, I’m a Board Member. Also, I recently finished my 3-year term as a WUJS Board Member and I was a WJC Lauder Fellow in the 2020-2021 cohort.

I decided to candidate myself because EUJS has always played an essential role in my Jewish journey. In 2019, I entered the world of Jewish advocacy with my participation in the EU Activism seminar. There, I was impressed by the impact of EUJS on Jewish students’ lives in Europe. This made me understand I wanted to be part of such a unique organization, dedicating my time to Jewish activism.

This brought me to be a Summer U volunteer (three times!), Policy Officer and, finally, Board member. Such experiences granted me a full understanding of EUJS: its projects, missions, but also needs. Indeed, EUJS has been incredibly growing in the past year, but I believe there is so much more that we can do together to keep representing Jewish students’ voices.

If you elect me, I'll strive to enhance EUJS' active presence in European and global youth fora, ensuring that Jewish students always have a seat at the table. Moreover, as treasurer, I'll work diligently to secure additional funding for local unions, as empowering our unions is among the main pillars of the organisation.

This is why I’m running to be the next EUJS Treasurer: I want to continue my tireless work for EUJS and give my contribution to its further growth, advocating for the rights of Jewish students and amplifying their voices.

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