THE Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) welcomed a new national executive for 2018 at its annual general meeting last week.
Comprising chairperson Saul Burston, vice-chairperson Gareth Milner, treasurer Daniel Kahan, political affairs director Noa Bloch, campaigns coordinator Sophia Kwiet, and leadership and development officer Michael Garbuz, the incoming executive will “continue to innovate and organise projects that provide a high level of meaningful engagement to our members”, commented Burston.
“Every Jewish tertiary student is interested in something different, whether it’s a social aspect, political engagement or business events, within AUJS there really is something for everyone.”
Outgoing national chairperson Isabella Polgar expressed her support for the new team, commenting, “I have full confidence that the incoming National Executive will create and enhance our innovative work and leave their legacy on our organisation for years to come.”
Burston, who served as AUJS Victoria president in 2017, reflected, “I learnt that one leadership style doesn’t fit all, an understanding I’ll take with me through life. I trusted and empowered my executive to run the events and initiatives they wanted to run and supported the team in achieving their goals.
“In terms of Israel programs, we want to take advantage of the fact that Israel is known as ‘the start-up nation’ and do a deep-dive in the innovation and entrepreneurship space. This year we’ve introduced events that focus on these two areas with great success and thus we want to allow our members to engage with these topics on a bigger scale.”
Milner commented that – among other things – he intends to “continue the good work of our predecessors in engaging Jewish students across Australia and New Zealand, tap into the digital market and enhance our social media strategy, engage with communities across Australia and New Zealand and celebrate Israel and AUJS’s 70th birthdays.”
In helping to tackle issues that Jewish students face, Milner emphasised that AUJS has been pivotal in addressing anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial prevalent on some campuses. “We will work with a number of different organisations both within and outside of the Jewish community to effectively combat those issues. We will also utilise the skills of our executive and members to best understand how to deal with these issues,” he said.
The meeting also included the unanimous passing of motions in the areas of gender and marriage equality, inclusion of Sephardim and Mizrachim, recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Maoris, as well as mental health awareness.