Reform Judaism has continuously stressed that Confirmation be the minimal goal in the Jewish education of a child, for it leads the student toward a more complete study of the beliefs, practices, ethics and history of Judaism. Moreover, Confirmation comes when a child is more mature (15 to 16 years); when he or she is intellectually and emotionally best prepared to appreciate the values, teachings and responsibilities of our Jewish faith.
Those students continuing on to be a Confirmand, study the following:
Grade 8: POST B’NEI MITZVAH STUDIES/JEWISH ETHICS: Grade 8 students are presented with a unique opportunity to discuss ethical dilemmas from a Jewish point of view. Students discuss Jewish ethics with their peers and engage with guest speakers who are experts in their fields. The classroom teacher helps students participate in meaningful dialogue about these topics and synthesize the year’s learning. An emphasis is placed on learning to make difficult decisions as a Jewish adult in this first year of elective study post b’nei mitzvah.
Grade 9: COMPARATIVE RELIGION: Grade 9 students study comparative religion. The history, beliefs and practices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity are explored. A comparison of the four branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform) are also examined. Students visit various houses of worship and are introduced to guest speakers to enhance their appreciation of others’ religious beliefs and practices.
Grade 10: CONFIRMATION: Grade 10 students begin the year by exploring Jewish New York and discussing what it means to be American and Jewish in the 21st century. The class, taught by the Associate Rabbi, considers how we approach modern ethical dilemmas from a Reform Jewish perspective. Students explore the decision-making process by studying ancient text and modern commentary. The Pirke Avot (Ethics of our Fathers) that teaches “know where you come from, know where you are going” is a major theme of the year as students prepare to “confirm” their Jewish identity in the spring.