May 25th 7:30 p.m. Confirmation Shabbat
May 26th 7:00 p.m. Shavuot Celebration
May 28th 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Yizkor Remembrance
On Pesach, we are given the gift of freedom. On Shavuot, we celebrate our collective
receiving of Torah, the completion of physical liberation through spiritual
enlightenment which comes with the acceptance of Torah as the guiding light of
our lives. In the process, we become
Klal Yisrael, the Community of Israel. It is one thing to escape from oppression
(Pesach). It is an entirely other issue to be ready to absorb wisdom (Shavuot).
In a similar way, it is one thing to reach the milestone of age 13 and
to celebrate Bar/Bat Mitzvah, demonstrating success in Hebrew School, Torah
chanting, writing a sermon and creating a mitzvah project. It is another issue
entirely to be 16 or 17 years of age, well into High School, contemplating
college, and ready to confirm one's adult Jewish identity. Both milestones are
powerful, but they are very different in nature.
In the Talmud, the only ritual accompanying a boy turning 13 was for
his father to thank G-d for ending his responsibility for his son's observance of
the commandments (or lack thereof).
Early Reform Jews in the 19th century, not as connected to ritual at
that time and also recognizing the limits of a thirteen year old mind to absorb
the depth of Jewish knowledge, promoted instead an additional ceremony called
Confirmation which focused on deeper understanding of the principles of the
Jewish faith. The ceremony found a home in the holiday of Shavuot which
celebrates the giving of the Torah. Shavuot worked well for Confirmation due
both to its timing at the end of the secular school year and its thematic
connection with the Torah, the story of the Jewish people and is relationship
To distinguish Confirmation from Bar/Bat Mitzvah, its supporters
emphasized its focus on insights, rather than ritual, its coeducational scope
and specified its occurrence with those in 10th grade of their secular
This year we celebrate the commitments of two outstanding 10th Grade
students, Bradley Singer and Justin Stein. Throughout the year they met weekly
with us discussing matters of Jewish identity, anti-Semitism, Jewish History and
the many ways Judaism informs their lives. They have crafted a service
reflecting their relationship with Congregation Beth Shalom and their loyalty
to Judaism's ideals.
Confirmation Shabbat is this Friday,
May 25th 7:30 p.m. Please make every effort to attend and celebrate Shabbat and the
honest reflections of these fine young men.
Saturday, May 26th beginning at 7:00
p.m. we enter Shavuot. We have
been pining away for this holiday since the second day of Pesach, through the
49 days of counting the omer. Each Shabbat you hear us count the Omer and give
a spiritual teaching about the week's theme and the particular day's theme.
Finally Shavuot, the 50th day since the 2nd night of Pesach arrives!
This annual celebration is based on a longing to experience the gift of
Jewish learning. With participation from your Rabbis as well as members of CBS,
we will embark on a quest for G-d. The
book, Finding God, by Sonsino and Syme, is this
year's primary text. Through it we will
learn how G-d is understood through the ages from Bible, Rabbinic, and Mystical,
Rationale, Humanistic and many views in between. To be Jewish is to be curious. Let's learn
together, sing, pray and eat dairy, a symbol of purity.
To conclude Shavuot,
we observe Yizkor Monday, May 28th 10:00
- 11:00 a.m. A memorial service, called Yizkor(meaning "remember"), is recited four times during the year. This is
based on the Jewish belief in the eternity of the soul. Although a soul can no
longer do good deeds after death, it can gain merit through the charity and
good deeds of the living. Yizkor is said by every person who has lost a
parent or other loved one.
everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven.
We look forward to sharing this sacred holiday
weekend with you.