Confirmation & Beyond

Confirmation

Beth El 10th graders are invited to participate in this year’s Confirmation Program at Congregation Beth El. Confirmation is a study program for high school students whose purpose is to encourage young people to learn and think about important life questions in a Jewish setting. The program culminates in a shared Kabbalat Torah (“acceptance of the Torah”) ceremony on a Friday evening in May. The ceremony is a public “confirmation” of your engagement with Jewish teaching and the Jewish spiritual tradition. Our 2014/5774 Kabbalat Torah ceremony will take place on Friday, May 9.
                                                                                                                                Photo by Bill Zarchy
The Beth El confirmation program is organized in conjunction with Midrasha. Rabbi Kahn will be offering a special Beth El confirmation class during the second and third hour of Midrasha first semester (10:45 am – 12:30 pm) and third hour of Midrasha second semester (11:35 am-12:30 pm). The class will look at classic and modern Jewish teaching about “the big Jewish ideas” of God, authority and responsibility, and our relationships and obligations to the Jewish people and humanity.
                                  
These sources will in turn help us clarify and “confirm” our own understanding of what it means to be and live as a Jew. We will also engage in an on-going study of classic and modern Jewish sources about contemporary issues, from limits on tattooing to limits on when a nation should go to war. Your suggestions and ideas will inform the class as we move along. One of last year’s students said: “Confirmation class was a great way to start Sunday morning. Pastries and Torah became the highlight of my Sunday.”

Now you may be asking why should I show up on Sunday mornings to take this class? Well, besides the fact that Rabbi Kahn frequently brings muffins and pastries, it’s an opportunity to engage with Jewish ideas, sources, Rabbi Kahn and each other in a challenging and serious way (but no homework). The topics will be chosen largely by the group; last year, we discussed poverty and responsibility, environmentalism, reproductive rights and sexuality, crime and punishment, and more. In addition to the Sunday Midrasha classes, there will occasionally be other gatherings of the Confirmation class (Shabbat dinner, field trips, etc.). A highlight of the last two years — and now a Confirmation tradition — is our annual weekend in Los Angeles.


If you have not yet enrolled for Midrasha this year, please do so now! Students may also enroll only in the Beth El Confirmation class; tuition is $125. Registration — whether for Confirmation only or for the full Midrasha program — is through the Midrasha office. (The $125 is in lieu of regular Midrasha tuition; it is not in addition if your student is enrolling in the full Midrasha program.)

If your family needs financial assistance to enroll in the program please let Rabbi Kahn know. No student will be turned away. Obviously, our out-of-town weekend will involve additional expense; last year, we were able to provide scholarship assistance for everyone who requested it and we are confident that we will be able to do so again this year. (The trip cost will be approximately $300.) Confirmation class students will also be eligible for special scholarships and grants for summer camp, Israel trips and other youth programming throughout the rest of their high school years.

Confirmation/Kabbalat Torah has been an important part of Reform Judaism for over a hundred years and a Beth El tradition since our founding. This promises to be an exciting and fun program that will add a new dimension to your Midrasha and Beth El experience. I hope you will join us! If you or your family has any questions, please call or e-mail Rabbi Kahn at rabbikahn@bethelberkeley.org.
 

The Rabbi’s Tisch:
Community, Conversation and, of course, Food

High School Juniors & Seniors of Beth El


Photo by Shoey Sindel

What:  A monthly dinner and discussion with Rabbi Kahn
Topic: Current Events (the world’s and our own)
Where:  The home of Rabbi Yoel Kahn
When:   5:00 – 7:00 pm 
Seven sessions, October – June
Sunday, September 22
Sunday, October 27
Sunday, December 15
Sunday, January 26
Sunday, February 23
Sunday, April 20
Sunday, May 18
Sunday, June 8

Cost: $36/year – subsidies available. 
To sign up, contact Juliet Gardner in the main office, juliet@bethelberkeley.org, 510-848-3988, x235