Dear Confirmation Families,
Shavuot commemorates our ancestors’ history – the transforming encounter at Sinai, fifty days after the Exodus from Egypt inspired one of Reform Judaism’s most creative innovations, the ceremony of Confirmation. For Reform Jews, each new generation was challenged to symbolically make the ascent to Sinai, receive the Torah for themselves, and confirm their own commitment to our faith.
At Shavuot, we are called to renew our Confirmation vows… and together to ascend Sinai anew… receiving the Torah for ourselves-for our own time and place-exemplifying its sacred ideals in our lives. I invite you, our Confirmation Class, to be in conversation with the text. No one has yet written or proclaimed the last word. I want to challenge you to be part of the ongoing dialogue and discussion about Torah. Torah is not the exclusive domain of previous generations or rabbis. It is yours. It is your heritage and therefore your responsibility to keep up the conversation Judaism demands that you think, that you process, that you reflect, that you study and struggle with the tradition and with your responses. From the role of the Talmud and text, we learn that life is not black or white, nor is it grey. Sometimes it is black and white, and maybe even grey, all simultaneously.
The class will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in our Religious Action Center’s L’Taken Seminar. There, you will gain an appreciation of Torah’s relevance to life in today’s world. You will also learn how each of us can make a significant difference in our country. Our tradition celebrates life and living, and offers keys to understanding how to live a meaningful life. By studying its texts, by arguing about their meaning, by debating their applications, by experimenting with traditions, by encountering others in the journey, we are nourished by Judaism, and we create nourishment for others.
Congregation B’nai Israel Confirmation Policy
Adopted and Effective: April 21, 2015
Amended: March 28, 2017
Effective Until: Superseded
- Confirmands must be Jewish, as defined by the rabbi in accordance with the norms of Reform Judaism.
- Confirmation at Congregation B’nai Israel is reserved to children of members of Congregation B’nai Israel.
- In order for a young person to be confirmed, his/her parent’s or parents’ financial obligations to the congregation must be current as of six months prior to the date of Confirmation.
- Confirmation is celebrated on Shavuot, at the conclusion of the 10th grade year of Religious School.
- Each confirmand must have been enrolled and regularly attending Congregation B’nai Israel Religious School or its equivalent for three years prior to Confirmation. Regular attendance is defined in the congregation’s Religious School Policy.
- Confirmation classes during 10th grade meet approximately twice each month. The rabbi is the primary instructor.
- When a meal is served during regular Confirmation classes, the cost will be paid by the congregation as an expense of the Religious School.
- The rabbi and Director of Education and Youth Engagement will make every effort to accommodate special needs that the family discloses to the rabbi, to assure that each young person enjoys a positive Confirmation and Jewish education experience.
- An educational trip to Washington, D.C. is an integral part of the Confirmation program. Confirmation families are responsible for paying for the students’ expenses for this program in addition to Religious School tuition. Confirmands and their families are strongly urged to conduct fundraisers to cover the costs. Prior to the beginning of the Confirmation year, the rabbi shall inform Confirmation parents that the congregation’s Harvey Luber Youth Scholarship Fund may provide scholarships to cover these costs in the case of need only after fundraising efforts have been exhausted. The cost for the rabbi, Director of Education and Youth Engagement, or any other Temple-designated chaperone to participate in this program shall be borne by the congregation.
- Each Confirmand is required to attend 18 Shabbat or Holy Day worship services during the year leading up to Confirmation. At least 12 of these services must be at Congregation B’nai Israel. All must be full-length Shabbat or Holy Day evening or morning services. Up to nine of these service attendance credits may be earned by attending and participating in Shabbat morning Torah Study at Congregation B’nai Israel, by serving as a volunteer madrich/ah (teaching assistant) in Congregation B’nai Israel’s Religious School, or by other community involvement approved in advance by the Rabbi or Director of Lifelong Learning.
- Confirmation families shall sponsor a reception before or after the Confirmation service and shall be responsible for all direct costs associated with the Confirmation service.
Confirmation Class 5781 (2020-21)
Congregation B’nai Israel
Little Rock, Arkansas
Rabbi Barry Block
Regular Class dates, beginning with pizza dinner at 6pm,
concluding promptly at 8pm, taught by Rabbi Block.
Course Topic: Jewish Choices, Jewish Voices, utilizing books by Elliot N. Dorff and various co-authors, published by Jewish Publication Society.
Body: High-Risk Behavior
October 7 – In the Sukkah, weather permitting
Body: Weight and Diet Choices
Sex and Intimacy: Dating Ethics
Sex and Intimacy: Sexual Consequences
Sex and Intimacy: Sex Work and Pornography
Power: Soliciting Charitable Donations
Power: Developing Personal Relationships
Power: Ethics in Business
Money: Morally Troubling Jobs
Money: Credit Card Debt
Money: Allocating Public Money
War and National Security: National Security
War and National Security: Justifications for War
War and National Security: Conducting War