Shabbat Evening Service
From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon
Confirmation in the 10th grade is a source of pride to teenagers who claim their Judaism at different stages in their lives by confirming what they can at this point. It’s a realistic and optimistic observation about who they are, today.
It’s realistic because they know that the world is filled with choices for them. There are no boundaries of any sort in the world they’re entering as young adults. The Internet and globalization have given them keys to a world in which they can copy, paste, and edit their view of everything. That’s why our first trimester addresses their image of God in Judaism. One God, individually imagined, gives them room to grow with God as they enter a world of their own successes, struggles, and outcomes. At the end of the trimester, their personal statements about faith are profoundly clearer than they were before we began our studies, and admittedly clearer than their parents’ own faith commitments, in some cases. My hope for them is that they can relate to God as they grow, without fear that the God of their childhood can’t grow with them into adulthood. God should be a source of all they need in life, in the best and worst of times.
It’s optimistic because rather than closing the door on new revelations, we’re opening the way for them to confirm, today, what they can and with every expectation that there’s more to come. Teenagers don’t want to be told what to believe; they prefer to learn what’s possible. In Judaism, there is no dogma about God, except that when we imagine God, we imagine one, not two or three. While there’s room to consider the possibility of none, at this age, I like to remain optimistic, too; teenagers are invincible and powerful, but years and experience often develop gratitude and awe if they’re open to it. I believe they are. I always believe they are, because teenagers want for themselves what we wanted for ourselves when we were their age. It’s difficult to surrender invincibility and power to finitude and mortality; but, if we see God as an unconditionally loving parent/partner, then we lose nothing and gain everything over a lifetime.
This Shabbat, we honor our Confirmands and thank them for their year of study with their rabbis and cantor, and for the promise they demonstrated to us and God that the future of Judaism is unfolding in their dreams and visions. Please extend your congratulations to the following students and their parents:
Erica Altman Ross Altman
Sebastian Altman Courtney and Ken Altman
Maddie Benzuly Cindy Sather and Douglas Benzuly
Alex Cortez Jodi and Michael Cortez
Alex Galor Helen and Daniel Galor
Aliya Gosdin Leslie Malkin-Gosdin and James Gosdin
Ethan Lovy Leisa and Jordan Lovy
Eli Maierson Meredith and Ryan Maierson
Asher Moskowitz Anna and Paul Moskowitz
Arielle Ollagnon Rachel and Pascal Ollagnon