by Sharona Schnall
We are currently in a difficult and vastly changing era that will be marked in our history. This time in quarantine, while staying at home, is bearable because of Hillel 818 and their continuous, devoted, and unconditional love and support shown for their students. An astounding amount of digital programming events are supplied, and a team of unwavering and motivated staff members are behind the scenes. It is incredible how quickly they transformed the Hillel 818 events to fit with our new way of life. Hillel 818 always says they are there for their students and care, but this is just further proof that they do truly mean the words they provide to the students.
Many people may feel isolated having suddenly moved away, but Hillel has made the college experience continue from a safe spot at home. I was normally living in the CSUN Student Housing dorms, frequently attending as many Jewish events as I possibly can that are offered to the community. Without much notice, having to pack up and return home, I am so grateful that even though Hillel had to close a door, they opened a window. They inspire us to problem-solve, not give up, and to always make the effort to connect with our Jewish roots and people around us. They have made a positive impact on myself as well as many other students.
Not only does Hillel 818 strive to prevent us from feeling alone in this intense world, but they also help us feel that we have the ability and resources to take on the world. Sondra’s Rosh Chodesh Nissan event #AloneTogether was deeply inspiring and focused on personal and professional development, goal setting, gratefulness, preparation, self-care, meditation, and so much more. The event displayed realistic techniques, while addressing the difficulties that often we encounter. A couple of my favorite quotes shared through this Zoom meeting are as follows, “Don’t let perfection be the enemy of good” and “Sitting in a rocking chair gives you something to do, but you’re not going anywhere.”
Additionally, while attending Paulette’s dance party, yoga, arm workout, and cooking tutorials on Tasty Tuesdays, my physical as well as my mental health saw benefit. Practicing self-care and life skills is one of the ultimate best uses of time. She provides students with the platform to participate in a fun time while actively improving their life.
Movies with Matt is a fun idea that has encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and watch films that I would not normally view. I really appreciate and enjoy how we tackle not only certain favorite plot points of the movie, but the underlying meanings, lessons, and purpose of the scenes. Each person’s opinions are valued and treated with respect. Whenever I watch films, I always desire to analyze them to another level, and I am grateful to Matt and Hillel 818 for taking the initiative to set up a time dedicated to that goal with an awesome group of friends.
These are just a few examples of all the hard work Hillel 818 puts into creating beneficial programs that spread the most helpful, lovable, and positive energy. Hillel 818 allows us many opportunities to look forward to that are a refreshing break from studying and our daily tasks. Productivity is presented in a nontraditional way. Even though we are not doing math problems together, the Hillel 818 staff and students, even with the challenge of social distancing, are always there for an open discussion on themes in life, Torah values, as well as the importance of human connection. Thank you.