Developing Our Jewish Identity

It is written in the book of Joel (3:2-3): “The old shall dream dreams, and the youth shall see visions.” Next week we have a wonderful opportunity to gather as a community to reflect on life, to share in the joy of family and friends, and to celebrate the youth of our synagogue. It is my pleasure to invite the entire Or Chadash community to the Festival of Shavuot and Service of Confirmation on Friday, May 11th at 7:00 PM. Confirmation marks not only the culmination of a decade of religious education, but the development of a more mature understanding of one’s religious identity. Our 14 Confirmands will each be sharing with us how they perceive their Jewish identity.

As I state in the Confirmation program for the evening: Reform Judaism presents both the opportunity for creative expression and the challenge of discovering an authentic path to Jewish living. This year’s Confirmation class learned about one of the core values in Jewish living: Tzeddakah. We studied familiar topics and unfamiliar lessons about them. We traveled to the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C., lobbying on Capitol Hill to try to change the world; we visited Brooklyn to experience the Hassidic Jewish world and to eat some amazing challah; we spent time in Philadelphia at the national Museum of American Jewish History to learn about the communities of earlier generations of Jews who shaped the foundations of American Judaism and watched a play about racism; we made and ate hamantaschen – complete with fortunes; we listened in horror as an Auschwitz survivor shared her story of the Holocaust; and we piloted the Reform Movement’s Teen Philanthropy program which enabled our students to explore with professionals and with one another the diversity of needs in our local and global communities and together understand the challenges of smart giving. We continued a journey of Jewish learning and living that we hope will endure a life-time.

I often remark that Judaism speaks with many voices. On May 11th we take pleasure in celebrating the many voices of Reform Judaism, voices of our Confirmation class.

We invite you to get a glimpse of our Confirmands’ visions and hear their rich and diverse voices.


Rabbi Joseph M. Forman