Originally, the Confirmation service served as a subsitution for Bar Mitzvah, in part because it was gender exclusive. In addition, some early Reform leaders emphasized the study of Jewish history, ethics, and philosophy over Hebrew proficiency. Confirmation differed from Bar Mitzvah in three specific ways:
In time, Reform congregations reclaimed Bar Mitzvah and introduced Bat Mitzvah for girls. By then, the Confirmation service had already become an integral part of Reform Jewish practice. In order to preserve both Bar and Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation, the age for Confirmation was moved from 13 to either 15 or 16.
- It did not require Hebrew proficiency.
- It was a collective (entire class) and not individual experience.
- It was celebrated on or near the Festival of Shavuot -- when the Israelites received the Ten Commandments.
At Shaaray Tefila, we observe Confirmation in the tenth grade and the service is held on a Shabbat morning close to Shavuot. Confirmation classes meet weekly with our Rabbi Stein and Rabbi Strom.
Click here for more information on Confirmation at Shaaray Tefila.