We had a wonderful Simchat Torah featuring the consecration of four new students. The parents all came and were very proud. Thanks to Shirley Boyd for taking these photos. I know that there were many others who took pictures as well, so if you have any, please send them to me and Susie. David Brown, our upcoming bar mitzvah, gave a great talk on consecration in Reform Judaism. Which is, according to David, an innovation of Reform Judaism.
In the book of Deuteronomy, it emphasizes the connection between believing in God and teaching the faith to our children:
"You shall love the Eternal your God with all your mind, with all your strength, with all your being. Set these words, which I command you this day, upon your heart. Teach them faithfully to your children; speak of them in your home and on your way, when you lie down and when you rise up" (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).
While in the late nineteenth century, consecration took place at the very beginning of the educational process, I think that most or all of the four children that we consecrated had already begun receiving a little bit of education.
We had the parents come up in the chapel and bless their children under a tallit. Then, later we moved into the sanctuary where we did three hakafot, dances around the entire sanctuary. After each hakafot, people switched around so everyone who wanted to had a chance to carry a Torah, including Drew G., who carried a big Torah without dropping it--which is fortunate, because otherwise we would all have to fast for forty days.