Goodbyes are hard for many of us. Especially at the end of the school year, it’s tough for teachers to say goodbye to their students.
There’s a Jewish tradition that teaches whenever we complete a section of studying, we should recite the following formula, called The Hadran: It starts with hadrach alan, “We have returned to you and we will return to you, dear learning….”
The Hadran points to the assumption that we can never really be done with something. As soon as we close the last page of the book, we make a dedication to start again, to return and to have the book return to us. Every ending is just a transition to a new phase.
The thing that makes any community continue is the commitment to return, the commitment to show up again even when it’s early on a Sunday morning or the whole summer has gone by or something tough has gotten in the way. Community works because we return to each other.
The recitation continues with hadrach alan, “and you have returned to us and will return to us.” This means that something from the learning that we did is also shining back upon us and ensuring that we are taking something meaningful from this experience.
The end of the school year allows us to reflect on everything that has transpired over the year. We look back to when we walked into the classroom on the first day with trepidation about how things would be. Would the material be interesting, would our teacher be fun, would we make any friends? We look back to all of the things that we didn’t know at the start of the year. And we commit to remaining curious about them. Simultaneously, we revel in the pride we have in ourselves for all of the learning that we accomplished.
Sarah Pollack (she/her) served as BJEP’s education director for the 2022-2023 program year, and is a student in the rabbinical ordination program at Hebrew College. BJEP, the Sunday morning program located on the Brandeis University campus, is more like summer camp than a school. Our students look forward to coming each week to learn in a way designed for kids. Our educators, who are Brandeis students, put a fun twist on learning while fostering critical thinking, communication and leadership skills. Through art, music and games, kids explore their Jewish values and Jewish identity, holiday celebrations, eco-Judaism and Hebrew. Learn more at bjep.org.
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