Our formal Religious School program goes through the 10th grade, though we are proud to note that many of our Confirmands are active in our youth group, FWFTY (9th-12th grades), and a majority stay on to help as madrichim (student aids) in the Religious School. Still, as we mark the beginning of Religious School with Consecration, we observe the end of formal classes with Confirmation. For nearly 200 years progressive Jewish congregations have marked the festival of Shavuot, which comes towards the end of the school year, with this group ceremony of affirmation. Shavuot recalls the revelation at Sinai, so in the season of Shavuot each year (generally in May) a new generation “confirms” our people’s covenant with God through the Confirmation ceremony.
What is Confirmation?
It is a mitzvah to be confirmed in the Jewish religion. Its basic nature is to encourage intellectual and spiritual growth, strengthen the bonds between them and the Jewish people and affirming their commitment to Judaism. Confirmation requires dedication and study on a high level than a Bar/Bat mitzvah. at the Confirmation service the students will vow that they are truly Jews based on their study, their understanding and their own personal loyalty to Judaism .
“After becoming a Bar Mitzvah, I was nothing short of ecstatic to be “done with Hebrew.” It wasn’t until I was forced into a confirmation class that I began to re-explore the notion of Judaism in the traditional fashion. I realized that God, religion, and prayer didn’t mean the Daily Miracles, Ashrei, and my haftarah portion. It meant my place in the world as a Reform Jew and how that affected my morals, my political beliefs, my stances on world topics, my view on Israel, and various other things. One’s connection to God is by no stretch of the imagination limited to prayer, and that’s why it’s important. Our tradition teaches that God is all around us; that God embodies every part of every piece of this earth; because we believe that revolutionary idea, and because we see God outside of prayer, we become revolutionaries through that connection. By finding your own Judaism, you too become connected with God beyond traditional prayer; you, too, embrace the revolution.” By Robbie Heeger.