Confirmation, Grades 8-10



confirmation lila jessieA life-long commitment to Jewish learning is one of BETC’s core values. As such, we hope and expect that our students will continue their Jewish learning through high school and beyond. This special program is for students in grades 8, 9, and 10.

The Confirmation program offers students the opportunity to deepen their Jewish knowledge. They are encouraged to explore and wrestle with issues, ethics, traditions, texts and theology in a Jewish context that will serve to shape their Jewish identity as young adults.
Confirmation students meet on Thursday nights from 6:00-8:00 pm. Students who want to meet with their friends, socialize, and eat before class begins are encouraged to sign up for the dinner option.  Dinner is offered at 5:30.  Interested students will need to register for the whole year. 
Students in grades 8 and 9 take core courses by grade level for the first hour.  In the second hour, students have a choice of elective courses.

grd9-nycGrade 8 students take a day trip to Boston (including a self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt, visits to local American Jewish History exhibits, or visits to local historical shuls, and dinner).  They explore the roots of our Jewish tradition in our home city.  Grade 9 students enjoy a weekend in Jewish New York, visiting Ellis Island, participating in unique and inspiring Kabbalat Shabbat services at B’nai Jeshrun, and touring the Tenement and Jewish Heritage Museums.

Tenth graders have the opportunity to study with Rabbi Kraus.  They also participate in a special trip to the Religious Action Center in Washington, D.C. for a Teen Political Action Seminar. This four-day program, called L’Taken, focuses on Judaism and social action. The program includes creative worship services, social action training, and a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with Representatives and Senators.  There is also an opportunity to tour the Holocaust Museum and Washington, D.C.  In addition, students have a weekend retreat, or Shabbaton, to prepare for their Confirmation.  On the festival of Shavuot, tenth grade students who successfully complete the Confirmation program will be confirmed through a service created and led by the class.


Grade 8 Core Course: The Holocaust, Human Rights, and Hope

This class provides an opportunity for students to address the issues of personal identity in the context of learning about the Holocaust - one the most systematic and blatant violations of human rights in recorded history.  Through classroom discussions and activities, students will deepen their understanding of the history of hate that led to the Holocaust, increase their awareness of global perspectives on intolerance that exist today, and discover new realities about their own identity.

This course is influenced by the Facing History and Ourselves Curriculum and the ADL's Echoes and Reflection Curriculum. 


Grade 9 Core Course: Wrestling with Big Questions ~ Wrestling With Self

What are our big questions and how do we attempt to answer them? How does the world work and what is our role in it? What is our responsibility to myself and others? What does it mean to believe in God?  How do other Jews and people of other religions approach these big questions? How does Reform Judaism help me to understand my role in the world? Throughout this course, we will explore these questions and more. Our religion places an emphasis on learning and asking. We will seek out our own truths as we listen to our own voices, those of one another and a variety of sources.


We will look at modern issues with Jewish texts as a resource in developing critical thinking skills, leadership ability, spiritual connection, and a personal code of ethics.  We will engage in a study of Judaism, Christianity and Islam to understand their basic tenants, understanding of God, and how each religion approaches big questions differently. We will engage in a social justice project as a class as we learn more about our identity as Reform Jews, and our responsibility to repair the world. Finally, as the 9th grade will travel to New York City in the spring, we will learn a bit about the city and its Jewish history in preparation for the trip.


In the second hour of the class, a selection of electives is offered each semester.  Students sign up for first and second choices in order to keep class sizes balanced.  Electives may include topics such as Hebrew Ulpan, Jewish Spiritual Leaders, Jews and Comedy, Painting Jewish Murals, the Roots of Conflict in the Middle East, the Meaning of the Mikvah Ritual, Israeli Dance, and more.



Grade 10: The Power of Relationships

The Grade 10 Confirmation curriculum focuses on relationships: relationships with self, peers, community, Judaism, and God.  Through text study and experiential activities, students will explore, define, and re-define these relationships.   It is our hope that students will emerge with a clearer sense of how these relationships can shape a personal, adult Jewish identity.  The year concludes on Erev Shavuot as we celebrate the beautiful and powerful ritual of Confirmation and students publicly affirm their dedication to God, Torah and the Jewish people.