The European Union of Jewish Students’ (EUJS) annual flagship programme Summer University held its 37th edition in Bulgaria in 2018. Living up to its mission of ensuring safe, secure and confident young Jewish life, Summer U is a space where proud and positive
Jewish identity is promoted. Summer U remains the largest annual Jewish student event in Europe, almost 300 participants from 31 countries came together for an amazing week to foster Jewish diversity and learning in numbers and in spirit.
A young, dynamic team of 24 volunteers from seven countries worked for over six months at delivering an incredible programme for their peers, creating along the way not only lasting bonds, but also the inspiration to remain engaged with their respected communities.
The motto of this year’s edition was “This Summer is all about U”, as an open call for participants to speak up, share
and bring Summer U in line with their realities and topics of interest. One theme took the centre stage: Youth empowerment and giving agency to young people to shape their communities.
EUJS took active steps to ensure that member unions were given more space than ever before to display the experience specificities and experiences of youth across their respective Jewish communities. Emphasising EUJS’ belief in peer-to-peer learning, dedicated time slots were allocated to participant-lead sessions, in addition to over 30 professional guest speakers and trainers who offered the chance for participants to expand their knowledge, develop their skills and shape their attitudes.
Since this year’s event took place not far away from Burgas, where five Israelis and one Bulgarian lost their lives in a terrorist attack in 2012, in order to honour the victims, a moving ceremony was organised. Special guests from the Bulgarian government, from the Israeli
embassy and from the local Jewish community addressed participants on the occasion. This was followed by the planting of an olive tree and the dedication of a memorial plaque, a special and emotional moment, which reinforced the Jewish values that guide the work of EUJS.