Off they go – gone but not gone, full-fledged adults but still fledglings learning to fly. College means learning, exploring, experimenting, risking and becoming as never before. We bless this journey of transformation – for openness to learning and intellectual rigor, for wisdom in self-discovery and sound choices, for creativity and fun, for healthy relationships, for all of life’s bounties. Nothing could be more Jewish.
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלּפָנֶיךָ, יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֶאֱלֹהַי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ (וְאִמּוֹתֵינוּ), שֶׁתִּשְׁמֹר אֶת כׇּל תַּלְמִידֵי עַם יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיֵּלְכוּ לְאוּנִיבֶרְסִיטָאוֹת וּלְבָתֵּי לִמּוּד, לִישִׁיבוֹת וּלבָתֵּי סֵפֶר, בְּכֹל אַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁבַע וְעֶשְׂרִים וּמֵאָה מְדִינָה. הָאֵר אֶת לְבָבָם בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ, וּפְתַח אֶת נִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם בְּחַסְדֵּךְ.
Yehi Ratzon Milfanecha, Yah’ Eloheinu V’elohai Avoteinu v’ Imoteinu, Shetishmor et kol Talmiday Am Yisroel Sheyaylchu L’universitahot Ulvatay Limud, Lishivot O’lvahtay Sefer, Bchol Arbah Kanfot Ha’aretz Sheva V’Esrim Omayot M’dinah. Ha’air Et L’vavam B’Toratecha, O’ftach et Nishmotayhem Bchasdach.
May it be Your will, YHVH (Hashem) our God and God of our ancestors, that You guard all the people Israel’s students who shall go to universities and houses of study, to schools in all four corners of the earth. Enlighten their hearts with Your Torah, and open their souls with Your lovingkindness.
אָנָּא, שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל, שְׁמֹר אֹתָם בַּדֶּרֶךְ, וּרְעֵה אֹתָם כְּשֶׁהֵם יָגוּרוּ שָׁם, וְהָשֵׁב אֹתָם הַבַּיְתָה, כָּךְ שֶׁהֵם יְקַיְּמוּ מִצְוַּת כִּבּוּד אָב וָאֵם, כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ: ”כַּבֵּ֤ד אֶת־אָבִ֙יךָ֙ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֔ךָ,“ וְגָּם בְּדִּבְרֵי מַלְאָכְךָ הַנָּבִיא: ”וְהֵשִׁ֤יב לֵב־אָבוֹת֙ עַל־בָּנִ֔ים וְלֵ֥ב בָּנִ֖ים עַל־אֲבוֹתָ֑ם,“ וְנֹאמַר: אָמֵן.
O Guardian of Israel, guard them on the way, and shepherd them while they reside there, and return them home, so that they fulfill the mitzvah of honoring their parents, as it is written in Your Torah, “Honor your father and your mother,” and also in the words of Your messenger the prophet: “And He will turn the hearts of the fathers upon the children, and the hearts of the children upon the fathers,” And we say: Amen.
For through wisdom your days will increase, and years will be added to your life.
Where’s your first class?
Did you forget how to annotate?
Is that due by midnight?
Why do you always procrastinate?
You always charge your laptop,
Because it’s how everyone survives.
You don’t take notes by hand –
Now that’s uncivilized.
Are your textbooks coming in?
You swear they never will.
But conveniently for the bookstore,
They show up on your bill.
If it starts raining,
You can rest assured,
Knowing your next class is across campus –
And Mother Nature somehow heard.
If class is cancelled for the day,
Don’t celebrate just yet.
There’s an assignment posted online,
I am willing to bet.
Your notebook goes missing,
And there’s a quiz tomorrow,
So you search for a friend,
Who has notes you can borrow.
You’ve never read so many articles,
Who knew these all existed?
So you have to admit,
Some classes aren’t what you predicted.
The dining hall made pizza.
Where’s that salad bar now?
You promise just one slice,
But grab seven somehow.
Class is in an hour
You’ve got two more chapter to read,
But you fall asleep instead,
Because a nap is what you need.
Your favorite class is coming up,
So you have your things aligned.
You did some extra reading,
Though no homework was assigned.
Your friends keep you sane,
When the work is just too much,
Or you call home to your parents,
Knowing they’ll have the right touch.
Though the stress always lingers,
And you’re exhausted most days,
You love this new life,
In a million different ways.
You’ve never laughed harder,
Or faced so much worry,
And you’re told to treasure the days
Before they pass by in a hurry.
So you embrace this new world
For all the good and the bad,
And you enjoy the fun times,
Because they’re the best you’ve ever had.
based upon a poem by Hannah Dobrogosz