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New and old spaces to pray and meditate at Harvard

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Yaseen Eldik graduated from Harvard Law School (HLS) in 2016. It was a period marked by “crippling, depressing anxiety,” unease rooted in the rhetoric of a xenophobic campaign season, and pressures associated with his chosen field and uncertain future.

A spiritual person who had worked in the Obama White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, Eldik spent much time that year, as in any year, in prayer. Time for meditation and reflection helped ground him, and kept him moving forward. Often, his thoughts turned to what it would mean for his institution, to which he had become deeply attached, to create a space for this very activity. “It’s definitely something that would have made my life easier,” he said.

Fast-forward two years, and that space exists, thanks to an initiative spearheaded by Jeff McNaught, senior director of student affairs and administration, and to the counsel of Eldik himself. Opened at the start of 2017–18 academic year, HLS’ Interfaith Prayer and Meditation Space offers students a unique place for religious observance, meditation, and prayer.

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