Confirmations at the Temple
This is a brand new blog, so we may backtrack just a little bit until we can catch up. There’s been so much going on this past year. One event that I didn’t want to let pass was our confirmation service, which was held on Friday, June 10, 2016. Confirmation is a Judaic innovation pioneered by Reform Judaism in the early 1800s. At first, only boys were confirmed, but within a few years, it became common for girls to be confirmed as well, in Berlin in 1817 and Hamburg in 1818.
The main reason why Reform Judaism favors a confirmation service is that is promotes additional Jewish education for the young people. If they only have a bar or bat mitzvah, this would mean they would end their studies when they turn thirteen and they won’t be able to fully integrate the more abstract notions of religion that are so important. While confirmation only delays that conclusion by two years, it does give them a chance to study during a time when they are much more able to grasp religious concepts rather than just to learn words and actions by rote.
This year, we had three confirmants: Leah Brown, Will Kinsella, and Jacob Holberg. Each of them spoke very nicely, giving a sermon which was interspersed throughout the ceremony. There was also a Torah reading in honor of the holiday of Shavuot, which remembers the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
We had a bit of a problem in that the air conditioning was not functioning in the sanctuary, so I let the parents vote and they decided to move to the chapel, which turned out to be an excellent decision. The chapel was a more intimate space and the confirmation service had a special feeling because of the location.
I’m hoping that we can come up with a program that will keep our young people involved after confirmation. I’ve made a proposal, but it’s difficult because teenagers today are so over-programmed. They’re busy from early morning to late at night and it’s hard for them to find time to fit in other things, even things that are or should be very important. But, we’ll try our best and hopefully everything will work out well.
Photo Credits: Dr. Mark Brown