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April 2019 Newsletter
Welcome to your April newsletter from Progressive Jewish Students!

You might be asking, 'Where has the time gone?!' as we arrive towards the end of another term, and you wouldn't be alone - we feel the same! Passover begins this weekend, and we wish you all a Chag Pesach Sameach. We are so happy to be able to share our Passover Haggadah Companion, which you can download and use at your Seder tables.

In this month's edition we also recap on our wonderful Reconnect retreat, where we have been for the last few weeks, have some inspirational learning with Rabbi Daniel Lichman, and show you what is coming up in the PJS calendar!

Many of you are headed to exams, dissertations, and coursework deadlines, and b'haztlacha (wishing success) to you all! Please feel free to get in touch should you need anything over this potentially stressful time.
Where We've Been:
We visited Goldsmiths Jsoc and hosted a Lunch n Learn on the topic of 'Why are there so many Jewish Feminists? - Looking at the connection between Judaism and Feminism. 
We visited Sheffield Jsoc, and shared a wonderful meal together and discussed how our Jewish Feminism and activism can help us empower our styles of leadership.
Our Pesach Haggadah Companion: 
Click on the image below to download the PDF of our
Passover Haggadah Companion!
Spot Light: Reconnect Retreat
On the 22nd - 24th March, our Reconnect retreat took place in the beautiful Hope Valley of the Peak District. The weekend allowed us to connect to our Jewish identity through spiritual practice and Jewish learning. We chanted, studied, sang and ate together. Tilly Grossman said "The weekend was a fantastic opportunity giving me the tools to deal with the stress and challenges of university in a mindful and resilient way. I left feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of the semester". It is safe to say that we cannot wait for next year's Reconnect Retreat!
Below are some pictures from the weekend:
Learning with Rabbi Daniel Lichman:
From Narrowness to Expansiveness: the Internal and the External

The haggadah, read at Seder night, is a guide that can help us become free.
Hidden in the Hallel, the Psalms of praise traditionally recited on Seder night, is a verse that suggests to us what might be at the essence of freedom.

"Closed in by my troubles I called on the Eternal, who answered me and set me free." (Psalm 118:5) A more literal translation would be: From the narrowness (metzar) I called on the Eternal, who answered me in the expansiveness (merchav) of the Eternal.

The word of narrowness, metzar, is the root meaning of the word for Egypt – mitzrayim. Egypt can then be understood as ‘that place which restricts us’. To help us understand how to move out of Egypt we can explore the meaning of narrowness.You might recognize narrowness as a feeling that arises in our bodies in those moments of anxiety or pain where we feel closed in. I think it can be triggered from two places.

Firstly it can come to us from the external world. This is what slavery is about: narrowness imposed on an individual by others. When one person/group limits the ability of another person/ group to act they are impose ‘narrowness’ on them. Slavery is an extreme, though unfortunately, all too contemporary example of this. Other examples are the daily oppressions that take place as a result of political structures be they sexist, racist, homophobic or xenophobic.

The other source of narrowness can come from our own internal world: feelings of fear, experiences of shame, worry at how others might be judging us. Within the narrow confines of our internal world these feelings can become patterns of thinking, compulsions or addictions that consume our time and attention and leave us feeling even more closed in, narrow and alone.

At the heart of the haggadah is a debate between two 3rd century Babylonian rabbis. In response to the guideline for the Pesach Seder that we must begin the telling in ‘shame and end in praise’ (Mishnah Pesachim 10:4), Rav argues that shame is idolatry and praise is being in service to the one true God – the move to spiritual freedom. Contrastingly, Shmuel argues that shame is the experience of slavery and praise is the move into physical freedom.

Rav is suggesting that it is the internal experience - the patterns of thought, the ideology – is the freedom of the Pesach story and Shmuel is arguing that it is the external condition, the change from being restricted physically by others to being free of them that represents the freedom of the Pesach story.

The genius of the haggadah is that it identifies the truth in both of these understandings and insists that we tell both Shmuel’s story and Rav’s story as part of the Seder. The Seder acknowledges that both external conditions and internal processes can place us in metzar/narrowness/Egypt. The Seder invites us to work on both of these in order to be free: we are invited to challenge the oppression that takes place where one individual or group limits the abilities of another and we are invited to acknowledge those internal patterns of thinking that enslave us and restrict us.

How do we know then what freedom is? This is the merchav-Yah – expansiveness. Just as we know narrowness from our bodies so too do we know expansiveness: those moments when you feel open, hopeful, free – when you can stretch out and when you can run or dance with joy.

May this Pesach help you to move from narrowness to expansiveness, from Egypt to freedom in your internal world and help guide you to do your part to enable the move from narrowness to expansiveness in the external world around you.
Coming To A Campus Near You:
Next month we will be at the following campuses:
  • 1st May -  Lunch N Learn and evening drinks with Bournemouth Jewish Society
  • 7th May - Lunch N Learn with Cambridge Jewish Society
  • 8th May - Lunch with Birmingham Students
  • 9th - 10th May - Oxford Jewish Society Shabbat
  • 19th May - Dine N Discuss with Manchester Egal

For more info on events email:
Upcoming Trips:
Our Progressive Birthright experience is back this summer, 26th August- 5th September 2019 - with limited spaces left!  Get ready for 10 days of sunshine that will inspire and ignite your Jewish Journey, bringing you closer to Progressive Judaism through an engaging, immersive and values-based trip. Reserve your space today, sign up here!
Jobs and Opportunities:
Director of Youth and Students - Reform Judaism and RSY-Netzer.

Office Coordinator (Temporary, Contract) Liberal Judaism 

Masa FastTrack Pro + Other Paid Internships and Graduate schemes.

Have a job or opportunity you want us to share? Let us know! Email
What is Progressive Jewish Students?
Progressive Jewish Students is a collaborative project between Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism. The goal is to create a space for all Progressive students, and those looking to learn more about what Progressive Judaism is. We invite all students to get involved, and we work closely with students of LJY- Netzer and RSY - Netzer.
Chag Pesach Sameach!

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Jeneration · The Sternberg Centre · 80 East End Road · London, N3 2SY · United Kingdom

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