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Junction

Micro Grant Interview: Geneva Union of Jewish Students

"The Jewish community is reshaping itself constantly. Our generation is looking for a more engaging way to be part of Jewish life, and a more open-minded community able to stand together whatever the level of observance and background and this is something very exciting." - Jonathan Braun

Jonathan Braun is a student from Geneva studying in Strasbourg, he also happens to be the President of ARIEL (The Union of Jewish Students, Geneva) and sits on the EUJS (European Union of Jewish Students) board. As President Jonathan saw the prime opportunity to connect French-speaking Jews through regional programs that keep getting bigger and better. We’re proud to continually support Jonathan and we’re anxiously awaiting his next move!

Q. Can you tell us about what you used the micro-grants for?

A. The micro-grants were used to organize various events with social, cultural, festive and religious aspects in Geneva and the region. Through the grants, we have united to this day more than 400 various students from all over launching a new more dynamic young Jewish landscape.

Q. What was your key takeaway from the programs you’ve planned?

A. That no matter where we start from, no matter the age or experience- for us it was 3 students sitting during the 2015 summer discussing our future- we are able to build amazing projects, create life-changing relationships, change the shape of our community as a whole.

Q. What lead you to go to apply for funding?

A. Our goal is to bring our programs to all students whatever the background is, for us to be able to propose these at an acceptable price for our members, we need to rely on the support of funds like Junction.

Q. What surprised you about the planning process?

A. I was surprised by the capacity for us to realize a project uniting 300 people, on a full weekend, with the support of an organization that brought us their experiences and supported us throughout the way.

Q. What was your Jewish involvement in the past?

A. Before this whole adventure, I was a Madrich on some summer camps and involved in activities in my community.

Q. What is your Jewish involvement now?

A. Today, I am one of the founders of the Geneva Union of Jewish Students – ARIEL, and it’s current elected president. I also got involved on a European level, getting elected as Treasurer and Vice President of European Union of Jewish Students – EUJS.

Q. What excites you about the Jewish future?

A. The Jewish community is reshaping itself constantly. Our generation is looking for a more engaging way to be part of Jewish life, and a more open-minded community able to stand together whatever the level of observance and background and this is something very exciting.

Q. What should people know about the Swiss Jewish Community?

A. The Swiss Jewish community is very diverse and is growing with a more and more vibrant youth.

Q. What’s next for you?

A. We are getting more and more engaged on various topics, from social to politics as a Jewish Students organization. We are hoping to bring this energy into the Swiss Jewish community as a whole!

Junction micro grants are awarded to innovative, engaging young adult community projects and can range from $1000 to $5000.

If you have a new program idea such as a celebration of a Jewish holiday or a Jewish social event and want to make it happen, find out more here!

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