Hadran Alach Machane Ramah
When I pictured the end of camp, I imagined I would feel ready for the last day. While there is a sense of relief, I am also incredibly sad. It is hard to fathom not coming to camp each day. I wake up and get to work in a community comprised of children, young adults, colleagues, educators, and role models who support and nurture each other. Camp is a laboratory where creativity, trying new things, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is welcome and encouraged. Our staff has found deep meaning in providing a Jewish in person experience for children. We tie-dye just for fun at the end of a long day. Any day short of these things feels like a letdown.
The words of Hadran Alach, recited upon completion of a tractate of Talmud, offer me comfort. The text, written in Aramaic, reads:
Hadran alach, ve’hadrach alan
We have returned to you and we will return to you and you have returned to us and will return to us.
Completing a tractate of Talmud is a huge accomplishment. It takes time, dedication, and a love of learning and Jewish tradition. Jewish wisdom acknowledges our basic human need to say goodbye after an intense experience.
I imagine I am not the only one craving words of support through the transition of camp ending and the start of fall. In fact, I have already seen many tearful campers and staff. The hadran helps us articulate the words we may need. The basic meaning of this brachah is that we will come back and study this tractate again. Or, in camp language, don’t worry we will ‘See you in Kayitz 2022’. Another reading is that the knowledge and insights we gained from studying will remain with us and continue to be used in our daily lives, #campisstillhappening. Even though we will not be greeting buses each morning, dancing on the migrash, or playing quidditch, the friendships we made, cultivation of gratitude we practiced, and personal growth do not end with the camp season. The blessings we experienced this summer remain with us throughout the year.
I am so grateful to all of you, our staff, and campers for joining us this year. Thank you for trusting us with your children and bringing so much blessing into our lives. It truly was a gift. Hadran Alach Machane Ramah.