The Foundation for
Jewish Campus Life

Humans of Hillel

Erase the stigma

Glassboro, New Jersey | 2019

“I have the Hebrew word chai tattooed on my arm. It’s an expression of how proud I am to be Jewish and my long battle with depression. My chai features a semicolon, which represents hope and love for those of us who struggle with our mental health. Because a writer uses a semicolon to mark a pause in a sentence, not the end of one, the semicolon has taken on a deeper meaning for people who struggle with their mental health. I never felt judged by my Hillel community for having a Jewish tattoo. In fact, my chai boosted my confidence when I spoke about Judaism and mental health. But I knew that I needed to do more. Two years ago, I started an annual Mental Health Awareness Night at Rowan Hillel, where I serve as student president. We bring in speakers from the Rowan University Wellness Center and Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey. This year, we also organized a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the U.S. By raising awareness about mental health in our Jewish community, we’re taking steps to create a more supportive and understanding community.” — Izzy Wellman, Rowan University