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We celebrated Confirmation on Shabbat, May 27th, 2017. It was a beautiful event.

Our 5 young men shared their personal reflections and reaffirmed their commitment to Jewish life.

Below please find Adam Oaknine’s personal thoughts on the eve of his Confirmation. This is a testament to our experience with our young people. Adam, as well as the others, have a thoughtful, important connection to Holy Blossom and Judaism. We are proud of each of them.

Our Confirmands include:

  • Jack Borins
  • Jacob Crawford-Ritchie
  • Peter Gelgor
  • Adam Oaknine
  • Avishai Sol

Confirmation Speech by Adam Oaknine

I can’t believe that we are finally completing our Hebrew school careers, and that tonight is one of the last nights we will be spending as not only a confirmation class, but as an amazing group of friends. Although, I’ve come to realize that I am not concluding anything. It is just my beginning. In this ceremony, we are confirming our commitment to Judaism.

I remember my first years here with my cousin Jack like it was just last Sunday. All of us have learned so much throughout our years here, from the Hebrew alphabet, to the importance of supporting others, empathizing with suffering in our community and around the world, and in the process, strengthening our bond with Judaism. A huge part of our learning in these past few years has been about social action and Tikkun Olam. Tikkun Olam takes the effort of everyone in order to achieve a better world. I believe that we, as Jews, have a huge commitment to helping, having been through and survived so much, and come out stronger. I am so proud of all of the hard work that my classmates and I have accomplished, including becoming Bar Mitzvahs. After this important Jewish coming of age, our hebrew school class slowly narrowed down to the group of all stars here today. We are all here because we have the desire and commitment to learn more, think more, and grow more as Jews. Hebrew school has taught me a great deal about who I am and what I believe as an individual, about our customs and values, and the history of Jews. My decisions are influenced and shaped by my Jewish values. Judaism defines me and helps guide my outlook on life. Confirmation class has taught me to challenge and debate Jewish questions. It has taught me to include Judaism in my life today, and in the future.

Now I see Hebrew school as not only a learning experience, but as a teaching experience. As our learning of the Hebrew prayers and Jewish traditions deepened, we were able to help the younger kids learn them too, becoming student teachers this year. All of this helped us to understand what it means to be a Jew; helping others, helping the community, and gaining new life skills bonds, and experiences in the process. Back in December, all of us had the amazing opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. together to learn about Judaism on a global scale, and how we can change the world. Our class bonded in a whole new way, and made some amazing new american friends along the way. Alongside Rabbi Satz, Rabbi Splansky, Rabbi Helfman, Cantor Maisner, Lisa, Debbie, and Elana, this year at Holy Blossom Temple has really been one for the books. Although our formal Hebrew school education is complete, it does not mean that this part of our lives is over. There is always more to learn, and the spiritual identities that we have gained here will continuously be present in us.

I look forward to many more Jewish experiences including visiting Israel again, and spending my university years meeting Jewish people from other parts of the country and world. On behalf of me and my fellow classmates, we’d like to thank all of our amazing teachers that we’ve had throughout our years here, and I wish the best of luck to all of my classmates as we move on to broaden our journeys as young Jewish citizens. Confirmation class has given all of us the ability to set a road map for our futures as Jews and as people who will make a difference in society.

Mazel Tov everyone!!

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