NEXT year’s Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) national chairperson, Joshua Kirsh, says he is looking forward to bringing the organisation’s attention “back to our membership”.
Sydney-based Kirsh – who is currently AUJS’ political affairs director – will head a new executive in 2020 with vice-chairperson Gabriella Davis, while 2019 president Josef Wilkinson will take on the role of marketing coordinator.
“It’s an absolute privilege,” Kirsh said of his forthcoming role.
“Seeing how our incredible chairperson has worked over the course of this year leaves me with certainly a tough act to follow.”
He added, “We are really fortunate to have a number of members of our executive committee returning from the previous year.”
Kirsh said a “top priority” as chairperson would be to see how AUJS can provide more membership benefits and engage students better with its existing programs.
“We put a lot of work into the kind of resources that we can provide to students but sometimes they don’t always see it,” he said.
Commenting on the issue of antisemitism on campus, he said, “Antisemitism has always found a place to exist,” and AUJS will continue to “stand up very fulsomely against that kind of conduct and that kind of material on campus”.
“Our primary responsibility is to make sure that students know that we have resources, we are ready to represent them and to assist them,” he said.
As political affairs director this year, Kirsh said he was proud AUJS was able to get six campuses to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
Federal election debates were held for Wentworth and Macnamara together with The AJN and Australian Zionist Youth Council, while AUJS’ political training seminar kicks off next week in Canberra.
“The work has been really productive and it’s still ongoing and I’m looking forward to finishing out that role as well,” Kirsh said.
Wilkinson was full of praise for his successor.
“Joshua Kirsh is an incredible individual and with his equally incredible team, I cannot wait to see what AUJS brings in 2020,” he said.
Of his own tenure, he said, “The experiences, the relationships and the hard work, are things I will take with me for the rest of my life.”
The executive is rounded out by public affairs coordinator Daniel Elberg, campaigns coordinator Carly Rosenberg, treasurer James Breckler, leadership and development coordinator Sarah Sack, conferences coordinator Shira Rosenblum, Jewish engagement coordinator Talia Barsheshet and fundraising coordinator Andy Gordon.