“When you have a lot to do, go to sleep.” – Yiddish proverb
I’m sure many of you relate to the young professional credo, “work hard, play hard.” Well, as a father to a toddler, doting husband, and non-profit Executive Director, I’m more of a “work hard, nap hard” kind of guy. As I wade my way through the hustle and bustle of life, I find a quick nap to often be an invigorating, emotionally centering, and consistent source of joy and perspective.
In many ways, I think Hillel 818 serves our students like the perfect nap. We welcome the physically and emotionally tired, the literally and spiritually hungry, and those in need of a reset, and powered by Judaism’s tradition of radical welcoming, we offer them a respite, a refresh, and some much needed physical, mental, and emotional wellness.
And never have both literal and metaphorical naps been more necessary than they are today. Antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment is on the rise. 38% of students at 2-year colleges and 29% of students at 4-year universities face food insecurity (read more here). The mental health epidemic is still raging. Americans are spending more time alone than they ever have (read more here). And we’re stressed. 91% of people between the ages 18-24 report being stressed (compared to a national average of 84% - also disconcerting!). Read more about it here.
And so, it was with great pleasure when two Fridays ago, with a slight tear in the corner of my eye, I discovered the first Hillel student taking the very first nap in our new Hillel new building.
Before you ask – no, I did not take a picture of the napping student. I did, however, celebrate their nap later that night (and slightly embarrass them in front of their friends) at our Hillel 818 Shabbat dinner with a rousing rendition of the shehecheyanu prayer.
1 nap down. Thousands more to go!