We Are Essex

Amy-Julie's story

Amy-Julie smiling and sitting on a bench.

"I wanted to do everything I could for my people."

My faith – Judaism – is very important to me. I’ve always been raised with religion by my parents and for me it’s a sense of belonging. Belonging to the Jewish people means that wherever you go you feel connected to other Jews. Here, I’m not with my family, I come from France, so I needed to find this community and this belonging. 

My parents knew from the beginning of the year that I was going to set up a Jewish society, because I knew there wasn’t one, so they were very supportive and very proud. It was very important to me to create this society because my Jewish faith is a big part of me and it was important to me to find a community here and to enable other Jewish students to share our culture, our identity, and to learn about new things. As students, it’s the best time in our lives to be engaged and to be involved in things we love.

I was really stressed by everything that happened getting the society set up, but I’m also very thankful because it’s been a great experience. I had the opportunity to talk to the radio, to the BBC, to meet with SU staff, and to build something and I’m really proud of that. I think what kept me motivated was the final goal, because my faith is so important to me. I wanted to do everything I could for my people. To find a sense of belonging and to find this community together and to learn and to share, that kept me motivated. I really like the motto, I think it’s the one from Theodore Roosevelt, believe you can do it and you’re half way there.

The Jewish faith is not just rules and principles, it’s also an identity. It’s something you carry whether you’re religious or not. It’s a very diverse religion, so everyone has different Jewish identities and I like learning about them; there are Orthodox Jews, Reformed, Liberal, it’s very interesting. When I came here I had the occasion to speak with people that had different backgrounds than me, but we were connected because we were all Jews. 
I think that Judaism is special because we have a common history and so we have a strong solidarity given everything we’ve been through. We’re a very tight-knit community, we have strong values, and we are very welcoming and very warm.

I would like to finish this double degree and then I’d like to maybe come back to England to do a Masters, but my main dream and my main goal is to move to Israel and to settle there. Israel is a very special and unique place because the country is not that old, but the place is very old. It has a huge legacy and a huge heritage. There are Jews there from all over the world which has created a really important diversity within the country, but also a unity. We’re all so connected in a way.

At first I wanted to study in France, but I didn’t get in to the school I wanted. I was in the international section in my high school, so I thought I would take the opportunity to go abroad to England and to keep studying in English. This double degree was a great opportunity for me, it’s very interesting to compare both legal systems. I don’t know what I want to go in to once I graduate, because I don’t know every area of law yet. I’ll maybe go into private law, I don’t know, but I’m enjoying it!



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