By Alex Pacinda
For the Mitzpeh
With the stress of finals fast approaching, Hillel decided to start a new tradition with Wellness Week, beginning with Meditation Monday. A few students gathered in Rosenbloom Hillel Center Shul for some Monday afternoon relaxation with Rabbi Aderet Drucker.
“We want Hillel to a place that cares about more than just your religious needs,” Lauren Kershenbaum, a sophomore studio art major and event coordinator said. “We’re working to focus more on mental health and wellness, especially during this stressful time right before finals.”
Led by Drucker, students came together for group meditation in an effort to “find one’s center.”
“This is the space to let go of everything that overwhelms you and brings you stress,” Drucker said before leading the thirty-minute session. “It’s a chance to give yourself a break from your phone, laptop and all those nagging thoughts that you have to deal with every day.”
With soft meditation music and commentary by Drucker, attendees relaxed while sitting together and learning how to remind themselves of positive thoughts during the stress of exam season.
“Thinking of a happy memory or word with affirmative meaning in your life is one way to keep yourself centered during finals week,” Drucker said. “It’s a way to come back to this moment of calm whenever you’re feeling most overwhelmed.”
Although only a few students attended, for Wellness Week coordinators like Kershenbaum, it was a good start to the week’s events.
“With this being the first event of this new tradition of Wellness Week, I think it’s definitely reassuring to have students here,” Kershenbaum said. “Obviously we knew that 3 p.m. would be a difficult time with classes, but I think having people here means that we’re moving in the right direction with Hillel programming.”
For Jessa Cameron, Hillel’s Springboard Innovation Fellow, planning this week’s events has been a special part of her yearlong fellowship through Hillel International.
“It’s good to emphasize mental health, especially at such a big campus like this,” Cameron said. “No matter if it’s the end of the semester or just a tough time, I think Hillel is working to become more of a place for mental health and wellness awareness.”