Confirmation: Affirmation and Commitment to the Jewish People
To some of the teens I work with, I may seem like a new face. I was away from HBT for a few years but in reality, I have been a part of this temple since I was 13 where I continued my religious education. I easily joined the welcoming classes and felt at home. Confirmation seems like it could be yesterday to me, even though it was more than a decade ago. I was fortunate enough to have some of my best pals from camp with me in our class, and that made all the difference. It was something we evolved into together, even though I was not their classmate in earlier years. Although the continuation of Jewish education is optional after B’nei Mitzvah, to me it felt natural to continue through to confirmation. This was the innate progression as a member of Holy Blossom, and I knew that. We saw the yearly confirmation portraits in the hall and knew 2010 would be our year up there; a part of the history.
Elana Paice Lidsky was my teacher, and she remains deeply committed to the education of confirmation students. This was, and continues to be, an open space for deeper conversation in Jewish identity on a congregational and personal level as well as the wider world. We talked about the topics relevant to us and had the best guidance to do so. This time together truly felt like a satisfying culmination of my years spent in the community, and for myself as a growing person. Our trip to Israel was the cherry on top and something I will never forget, and I truly hope that next year we can make that happen for our current students. The entire experience was not forced upon me, rather it just made sense in my life as something I had to do. It was a commitment I was making to my own growth as a teenager, that I appreciate even more all this time later. When you’re in it as a teen of course you might see the merit and fun you have with peers, but it isn’t until you become an adult and you are figuring out who you are, that you greatly appreciate the grounding lessons and development gained through temple youth
programs. I highly recommend to teens in grade 10 this year, and future students, that they join our confirmation class for these reasons. I suggest to parents that they consider their role in their teens’ education as well. Below are some testimonials from some of last year’s confirmands that I hope will positively affect your choice to join the class of 2022 in February.
“I found confirming completely different from what I expected it to be. Personally, confirmation was about going more in-depth into Judaism itself and getting some more one-on-one time with the Rabbis. My favourite experience was when we got to ask the Rabbi some questions. I had asked about how the afterlife was perceived in Judaism because I had never really heard it talked about. I learned some new perspectives I had never even thought of.”
– Amelia Bertoia- Dixon
“Last year, I took part in the Confirmation program at Holy Blossom. To me, becoming a confirmand meant reaffirming my commitment to Judaism and reflecting on my previous Jewish education and how I want Judaism to play a part in my personal identity. Throughout the confirmation program, we reflected on what being Jewish means to us individually, as well as a collective. My biggest takeaway was the importance of Tzedakah and how I want to actively implement that into my life. Since being confirmed I have taken on various volunteer initiatives involving the Jewish community of Toronto and I will continue with the work I have been doing. The confirmation class was made up of about 8 grade ten students, all of whom I have grown up with and grown very close to in the past few years. Being able to take part in such an important program with those who have been my Hebrew school friends for so long made the experience so much more meaningful. Holy Blossom was able to host an online service that each of the confirmation students was able to contribute to. They did a great job making the service a special moment for all of us and our families. I am very grateful that I was able to become a confirmand and I highly recommend it, as it really reconnected me to my Jewish identity and allowed me to create stronger bonds with my Jewish community.”
– Sophie Atkinson
“Last year, I had the pleasure of confirming with many of my friends at Holy Blossom. While the entire experience was online, it was nonetheless enjoyable and rewarding for us all. Confirmation allowed me to deepen my perception of my Jewish identity. I was able to learn from various staff, including Elana Lidsky, Cantor Rosen, Lisa Isen Baumal, Rabbi Helfman, Sophie Rivers, and more. Confirmation also allowed for me to form new friendships with congregants my age, as well as deepen my friendship with those that I previously attended Hebrew school with. I am extremely grateful to everyone that helped us along the way and would recommend confirmation to anyone interested!”
– Shoshana Iny