Confirmation and Graduation
Confirmation at Temple Beth Ami
Confirmation is a recent addition to the cycle of Jewish observance and celebration. In the middle of the l9th century, the founders of the Reform movement felt that the ritual of Bar and Bat Mitzvah did not speak to the social and spiritual realities of an enlightened, non‑Orthodox European Jewry. They also were dedicated to a level of Jewish education for young people which required study beyond the age of thirteen. Consequently, many of these congregations created an extended and sophisticated program of study and a celebration of its conclusion. Today, even while most Reform congregations have re‑established Bar and Bat Mitzvah in a manner appropriate to our Jewish communities, Confirmation has become an integral part of the life of Reform congregations and of many Conservative congregations as well.
At Temple Beth Ami, Confirmation is viewed as a concentrated program of study and experience that prepares our young people to formulate an adult approach to Judaism, to the Jewish community, and to the application of Jewish values to the difficult challenges of the adult world. We find that the conceptual framework for this understanding in the Hebrew term for Confirmation ‑‑ KABBALAT TORAH, or, “acceptance of the Torah”. The goal of this program is to enable the students to incorporate Torah ‑‑ Jewish teachings in the broadest sense ‑‑ into their adult lives and into their decision-making process. This ideal is further reinforced by the symbolism and significance of Shavuot, the festival which commemorates the giving of Torah at Mt. Sinai and the time at which Confirmation is celebrated.
Confirmation represents the capstone of the current program of formal religious education at Temple Beth Ami. It is a curriculum that begins in eighth grade and culminates in a special tenth-grade experience, and one in which we hope every student will participate.
Graduation at Temple Beth Ami
Our 12th-grade students spend the year focusing on what it means to live Jewishly after high school. Topics covered during this year include Jewish life on campus, friendships, freedom, finances, social justice, and Jewish practice as a young adult. Seniors participate in a special t-shirt quilt project in which they reminisce about their childhood via T-shirts collected throughout their childhood. After sharing personal stories about the shirts, they are made into beautiful quilts. Seniors also reflect on their studies at Temple Beth Ami, “why they stayed”(at Machane TBA), and share the answer to that question with the congregation as part of a culminating spring graduation service. The senior year and graduation ceremony are very meaningful opportunities for students to solidify their connections to their peers, to the congregation, and to Judaism.