Be Well with Hillel Helps Students Navigate Autonomy

July 31, 2023

Be Well with Hillel Helps Students Navigate Autonomy

The college years are a unique time of life; in four short years, students go from being dependent on their families as freshmen to being independent adults upon graduation. The time is ripe with transition and change, and those life changes, coupled with academic demands. leave many students struggling to keep up. JF&CS is helping students navigate this stage of life with the Be Well with Hillel program.

Funded by a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Be Well with Hillel allows JF&CS and Hillels of Georgia to provide no-cost counseling services for Jewish college students in Georgia. JF&CS Clinician Rivkah Muller leads the initiative. Rivkah sees students virtually and in person at the JF&CS Dunwoody office and is on campus at Emory University weekly. Her clients are diverse and range from freshmen to seniors with an equal number of male and female students.

“The struggles faced by my college clients generally fit into three areas,” she says. “Academic struggles, coming into their own autonomy, and navigating interpersonal struggles. Of course, this is all happening before we even get into issues like peer pressure, vaping, drinking, and more.”

In the face of these challenges, Rivkah is pleased that “this age group of clients is very insightful. This generation is self-aware, interested in mental health, and excited to do the work.”

The foundation of knowledge and mindset towards growth certainly helps students get the most out of counseling. The benefits of counseling are different for every client but in general, Rivkah says that “in many ways, I get to help them along the process of coming into their own. They’re learning to trust themselves, to make decisions and be autonomous. We do a lot of self-discovery work.”

“They’re in this middle ground of being pulled away from their support systems, and I get to help them figure out who they are outside of their support systems and how they relate to those support systems now that they are more autonomous,” Rivkah adds. “Dynamics shift; it’s the push/pull of ‘I want to know who I am and be myself, but also am I allowed to still call my mom if I don’t know what to make for dinner?”

To learn more about Be Well with Hillel and connect with our JF&CS clinical team, visit

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