Monday, June 13, 2011

Jacqueline Agranat's Sinai Statement: Celebrating Confirmation and TBS Teen Programs

Ed. Note: This second in our series of our Confirmand's Sinai Statements comes from Jacqueline Agranat. Jacqueline talks about her experience during this confirmation year, and shares her perspective on shalom.

Shalom everyone. This one word, “shalom,” has multiple meanings. The main three meanings are "hello, goodbye, and peace." In Hebrew, however, "shalom" is related to the word, "shleimut" which means "wholeness, health, and contentment." Being a part of this temple allows me to feel all the different parts that Shalom can offer. School cannot compete with the environment that this synagogue provides. In school we are taught facts, and forced to memorize them in order to do well on the upcoming test. In Confirmation, however, we are taught stories, lessons, and facts as well, but we do not need to memorize them for a test. We discuss these teachings and share what they mean to us. Each commandment from our Torah tradition impacts each individual differently. Confirmation class allows each of us to be our own person, rather than just another student in a class. We have come to understand that we are part of a larger tradition of adding our own voices to Torah, making it speak to our lives today.

As I was growing up, going to temple was a mandatory activity in my busy life. After everyone became Bar or Bat Mitzvah, in many families, it was the kid’s decision whether or not they should continue learning at temple. After observing how much my older brother Josh enjoyed his time here, I was willing to continue with it. Now I can see why he enjoyed it so much. This place, this beautiful synagogue, makes me feel secure. It wouldn’t be the same without the people that are here with me. Each member of the Confirmation Class of 2011 is a unique individual. It has been incredibly refreshing to spend time with the members of Confirmation and get to know them better. I know we all can relate when I say that the sharing circle before each class, during which we can check in about one another’s lives, is something we all enjoy. We are able to speak our minds and know that everyone’s support is present. Confirmation is one of the few places where I feel comfortable enough to really speak my mind without being judged, and I thank you all for allowing this shleimut, this wholeness, to be possible.

--Jacqueline Agranat

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