AUJS Introduces New Leadership Program

New AUJS Leadership Program

AUJS president Noah Loven and Diller Teen Fellows’ coordinator Sharni Briner speak to Year 10 students at Bialik College as part of the new AUJS leadership program (photo courtesy

The Melbourne Jewish Report | July 2024

As Jewish youth feel increasingly reluctant to engage with their community and take on meaningful leadership roles, AUJS is expanding its school engagement programs, reaching more high school students than ever and offering new ways of staying connected and engaged.

The growing disconnect between young Jews and Zionism, Judaism and the broader community, is not limited to Australia, nor is it solely the result of the aftermath of October 7.  Though, it must be said, that rising antisemitism has definitely played a role in deterring some youth from expressing and exploring their Jewish identity. Rather, this trend seems to be a global one and has become ever more evident over the past couple of decades. 

While AUJS focuses primarily on university students and Jewish life on campus, it relies on an active and involved youth for its next generation of leaders and has always considered school engagement a top priority.

Late last month. AUJS held the last session of its new leadership and community program for grade 10 students at Bialik College.

The second-semester program at the Jewish day school included weekly sessions on Jewish identity and leadership, antisemitism and the vital connection between community and leadership.

It introduced students to ways in which AUJS can help them stay connected and take on leadership roles now and in the near future. Students met with AUJS leaders, Jewish Agency shlichim and youth movement representatives, using interactive activities to explore different concepts surrounding leadership and community.

They looked at Jewish values and leadership traits and discussed historic and contemporary Jewish leaders.

They studied the impact of social media and produced TikTok-style advocacy videos.

They identified anti-Israel and antisemitic rhetoric in the media.

Recognising the challenges that young Jews face today and acknowledging the importance of keeping them connected and willing to engage, AUJS will continue to develop and expand its school programs for Jewish and non-Jewish youth.

AUJS president Noah Loven said that the union “recognises the vital role of Jewish day school programs in fostering leadership and preparing students for university life. Our recent program at Bialik College, that was led by our shaliach, has been incredibly successful.

In the post October 7 environment, it is more important than ever to equip the next generation with the tools for effective leadership and a strong connection to their heritage.”

AUJS shaliach Tobias Siegal said that empowering our communities and fostering leadership are two sides of the same coin. “Engaging with high school students remains a vital focus for AUJS.

Perhaps now, more than ever, we must empower our younger generation and instil in students a sense of belonging and a desire to be leaders within their communities.