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Reflections on Confirmation

By Alison Miller and Bill Kinsey

We were moved to our very core by seeing nine young adults at their confirmation yesterday. These students went through their b’nai mitzvah process three years ago and have now taken individual responsibility for this next level of expressing their Judaism. It was a beautiful and stirring service and we are excited to share our feelings about it with you.

These students worked together to create a Saturday morning Shabbat service. They each personally wrote a part of the service and expressed it in their own words. Confirmation falls on Shavuot, when God gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. With vigor and energy each student read Torah and as a collective group recited the 10 commandments in both English and Hebrew. We were amazed to see the extent by which they exerted their growing involvement in this Shabbat morning service. Their smiles radiated across the congregation. They were laughing together, supporting one another through hugs and fist bumps and connected as they progressed through the service.

Another special aspect of yesterday’s service was how the students chose to double this Confirmation service with a Bar Mitzvah for one of the other students who never celebrated becoming a bar mitzvah when he turned 13. It was beautiful for the student who was celebrating his bar mitzvah individually, but it was also a great example of the group caring for one another as a Jewish community. This confirmation class learned the importance of doing a mitzvah for someone else.

As a parent I particularly identified with Rabbi Biatch’s message to the students that their choice on this Saturday morning was to confirm their commitment to Judaism rather than conforming to the pressures of their teen years. Witnessing to choose Jewish study at age 16 was inspirational as a parent. These nine amazing teenagers choose to invest their time, their creativity and their passion and confirmed their commitment to taking these ideals into adulthood.

When I think of the Jewish people on Mount Sinai receiving the Torah from God they must have been totally present in the moment. You can see radical commitment in the faces of these nine teens that will live forever on the wall at Temple Beth El.

May 26, 2020 3 Sivan 5780