The goal of Confirmation is the creation of a sacred sense of community, where class members can learn and grow in their understanding of our faith and tradition in order to make informed decisions about their lives.
The time is coming soon when our young adults will be making decisions on their own. How can we expect them to make adult Jewish decisions if they only have a pediatric knowledge of Judaism? It is our resolute belief that the Confirmation year will be an extraordinary experience in the lives of our young adults.
Confirmation is not conformation, and the class members will be able to decide, at the end of the year, if Judaism truly is meaningful in their lives. In order for our Confirmation Class to achieve its goals, active involvement and regular attendance are crucial, as is full completion of assigned requirements. Parent support in seeing that these requirements are met is essential to the success of the program.
Confirmation is a relatively new Jewish life cycle ceremony, dating back to the early 1800’s. The first Confirmation ceremonies were substituted for Bar Mitzvah ceremonies and organized like graduation exercises. In 1822, a class of thirteen-year-old boys and girls were confirmed at the Reform synagogue in Berlin. Eventually Bar (and later Bat) Mitzvah ceremonies came back into popular Reform practice and Confirmation was postponed until a later stage in a student’s religious education, between ninth and twelfth grades. Since then Confirmation has been firmly linked to advanced Jewish learning. – From The Book of Jewish Life, by Jo David and Daniel B Syme
Confirmation year is the culmination of formal religious studies at Congregation Ahavath Chesed (typically in the tenth grade year). According to the policy set by the Religious Education Committee prior to 1994, “no student is eligible for Confirmation who has not completed at least two years of religious school immediately prior to the Confirmation year in a satisfactory fashion, as well as all requirements for the Confirmation program itself.” In April 2001, the Religious Education Committee updated and readopted the following policy, “In order for a student to be eligible for Confirmation, he/she must have been registered in our religious school and Beit Midrash (or their equivalents) through tenth grade, as well as having completed all requirements of the Confirmation program itself.”
All questions regarding requirements for Confirmation eligibility should be directed to Rabbi Lief.
Our religious school has a projected calendar of twenty four (24) class sessions for the academic year. It is our expectation that Confirmands attend each session in order to meet the curricular requirements of Confirmation.
As part of the Confirmation program, students will take part in a special retreat program. We will travel to Savannah, GA to explore the Jewish experience in Colonial America, learn about the early roots of Reform Judaism, discover how our past informs our present, connect with our classmates, and, of course, eat amazing food! It is our expectation that every Confirmand will be a part of this amazing weekend. Should finances be a concern, please be aware that anonymous donors have pledged to make this trip a reality for all students. Please contact Rabbi Lief for futher details.
The Reform Movement in America was established with the prophetic principles of social action at its center. Since the early days of Confirmation at Temple, community service has been an integral part of our program. As part of the requirements for Confirmation, students will be taking on a tzedek (righteousness) project for the year, either individually or as a group with other Confirmation classmates. These projects will be documented and displayed at Confirmation.
It is our expectation that members of the Confirmation Class will attend at least eighteen (18) Shabbat and/or Festival services prior to Confirmation. This represents approximately one out of every five Sabbath and/or Festival services over the course of the academic year. These can be Friday evenings, Saturday mornings, or services conducted as part of a JAFTY/NFTY function. Record sheets are included in this handbook. Although we love to see our young people at Temple, services at other synagogues always count towards service attendance.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CONFIRMATION SERVICE
Throughout the spring, students will make decisions about themes, writings and liturgical selections as well as musical and other artistic contributions for the Confirmation Service. Students will be asked to choose a part of the Confirmation service to write or lead. Prayers or readings should be kept to a maximum of three hundred (300) words, and individualized instructions, as well as assistance if needed, will be given. This life cycle ceremony has been a part of our congregation for over a century and is considered a sacred rite of passage. We look forward to sharing the bimah at this holy ceremony.
Parents are expected to assist in making sure the Confirmands attend class and retreat, are prepared with their assignments on their due dates and attend services. Parental cooperation is essential to the success of the program. Parents will also be asked to help with the details of the Confirmation Weekend.