Jewish Learning Program (Religious School)
Sunday classes include:
- Dynamic Judaic Curriculum
- Hebrew Through Movement (K-7)
- Hebrew reading (4-7)
- Creative specials: library, cooking, dance/movement
- Kehillah (social/community building)
- T’filah (prayer) with families
“At 13 one is fit for keeping the commandments.”
– Samuel the Younger
The ceremony of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah marks the time when our youth reach the age of 13 – a moment in the Jewish life cycle when a person is considered old enough to take responsibility for their Jewish life. At this time, the student affirms their willingness to be part of our Jewish community by leading worship, reading Torah, and sharing with the congregation a lesson they have gleaned from their Torah studies.
Preparation for this special moment begins the moment a child goes through Consecration (age 5-6). The child continues their Hebrew studies, which hit peak intensity around 6 months prior to their Bar or Bat Mitzvah. At that time, each student works with our rabbis and cantor as well as a Hebrew tutor and is expected to complete B’mitzvotav – a learning-through-doing program that helps the child begin to understand what being a Jewish adult entails.
Bar and Bat Mitzvah dates are set during the month of March in the year when a student turns 11. The celebration may take place no sooner than one month before the student turns 13 and has completed four years of Hebrew language study and four consecutive years of Religious School. Students are expected to continue their formal Jewish education through Confirmation in tenth grade.
IHC recently launched its own Hebrew language study through our new Jewish Learning Program (Religious School). For more information about registering a student for the Jewish Learning Program, contact Barbara Chapman.
POST BAR/BAT MITZVAH CLASSES
FOR GRADES 8 -10
Wednesdays, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
(Some classes meet different times and days)
The Derech Torah program offers students a flexible program featuring three eight-week modules. Students have the opportunity to choose classes that meet their interests and are scheduled around their regular school activities. A highlight of the Confirmation year (grade 10) is a four-day trip to Jewish New York.
by Barry Shainker
Confirmation, a fundamental part of Reform Judaism for more than a century is, I must admit, a topic I knew little about until I was a sophomore in high school. Although I knew early on that Confirmation was a special ceremony held three years after bar or bat mitzvah for those students who chose to continue school, I knew nothing of its significance on the Jewish calendar, its place in Reform Judaism, or the symbolism it represents.
Both my parents were confirmed and they told me about the beauty and power of the occasion, but walking down the hallway of the synagogue lined with Confirmation class pictures, I wondered why teens would want to wear fancy robes and engage in intense study.
During that 10th grade year, I learned much about the milestone and all that it represents. As early as the 19th century, Reform rabbis believed that 13 is too young for a child to affirm a lifetime commitment to Jewish tradition and practice, and thus the Confirmation service was developed. It usually is held when young people reach 16, and are considered more mature in their understanding of a truly Jewish lifestyle. Using this reasoning, it is easy to see why Confirmation initially took the place of bar or bat mitzvah in Reform synagogues. Over time, of course, that position was modified, and today many teens have the distinct honor of becoming both a bar or bat mitzvah and a confirmand.
The year I was confirmed, the service was held on a Friday morning in early June. At first this meant nothing more than a day off from school. But after a year of study, I understood the significance of holding the Confirmation service on Shavuot. In class, we’d talked about Shavuot as the final holiday—following Sukkot and Passover—the shalosh regalim, the pilgrimage festivals. Like its predecessors, Shavuot was a time when the ancient Israelites brought a part of their seasonal harvest to the Temple in Jerusalem. As Rabbi Peter Knobel notes, modern Confirmation echoes the symbolism of the ancient observance of Shavout: “Today…young people are the first fruits of each year’s harvest. They represent the hope and promise of tomorrow. During the service [they] reaffirm their commitment to the covenant.”
Attention Parents: We need your college student’s address!
IHC wants to keep up with our young adults by sending them greetings, holiday packages and the “Kulanu” throughout the year. Please click on the form below, print it out and return it to IHC.