One hundred years ago, Reform Jews did not have b’nei mitzvah ceremonies. The early Reform rabbis decided that 13 was too young for a coming of age ceremony. They also felt that time spent learning Hebrew would be better spent grappling with Jewish history, faith, and ethics. But they did have Confirmation…and we still have it today.
Each Monday night this year, a group of our teens came together to wrestle with their personal understandings of God, Torah, and Israel. They each had meaningful b’nei mitzvah experiences, demonstrating proficiency with Hebrew reading and offering an age appropriate speech about the Torah portion. And now, a few years later, they have dealt with the questions of Jewishness at a more mature, abstract level.
This Friday night at our Confirmation ceremony, each student will give voice to their personal sense of Jewish identity. These nuanced, sensitive statements capture the spirit of our year-long course of study. All that we learned will serve as foundations for these students as they embark on Jewish adulthood. We should all be very proud of their accomplishments!