I have always been struck by the unique nature of an educational community: we build and develop our strong and powerful relationships with a cohort of students and often forget that they are only in school on a temporary and transient basis. After seven years, we suddenly need to begin the process of saying goodbye to the students and wishing them well for the future.
The Oxford English Dictionary places the origin of the word ‘goodbye’ as a contraction of ‘G-d be with you’; its usage is said to date back to the 17th century. This conveys a sense of closure and a final word: the speaker will not know whether they will ever see the other person again. In contrast, at a siyum, we never say goodbye to our engagement with Torah learning and Hadran Alach is recited instead. This idea of ‘returning to you’ is very powerful – our lives are transformed by Torah study and goodbyes are never final as we aim to continue to nurture the relationship to ensure that our lives are transformed.
As I approach my final few days at Hasmonean, I would like to hope that I leave with feelings of Hadran Alach, rather than ‘goodbye’. After ten years, I leave with feelings of joy and pride of everything that we, the Hasmonean family, have achieved. I know that I am leaving a strong, vibrant and powerful school community which will go from strength to strength. I look forward to hearing about its future successes.
Mrs D Lebrett
Headteacher – Boys’ School