CONFIRMATION 2010 Keynote Address, Illisa Zimmerman, Principal

           There are so many people who want to recognize this confirmation class and I have the privilege of representing them. I am talking about the Temple Sisterhood and the Synagogue Sisterhood. I am talking about the Temple president and her congregation and the Synagogue president and his congregation. And of course, I am talking about each and every student of the ALTOONA JEWISH COMMUNITY SUNDAY SCHOOL.

           They are all here to see you as the embodiment of what it means to complete many many years of Jewish education. Actually ELEVEN. Eleven years ago you came to us with open hearts and open minds. It does not matter if you were bar or bat mitzvahed, it does not matter if you went to services every weekend. What does matter is that you are a GOOD JEWISH PERSON. What confirmation means is that you have the built the foundation to be a GOOD JEWISH PERSON.

           For 11 eleven years, these students have treated their SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS with respect. They have opened their minds to discussion of JEWISH IDEALS and JEWISH TRADITIONS. As a result, they have ideas and opinions that are influenced by JUDAISM. They EXPRESS themselves as GOOD JEWISH PEOPLE.

           In each year of Sunday School, from kindergarten, to first to second and from fifth and up,  JEWISH IDENTITIES are being formed. If we have done our job, by CONFIRMATION, a solid JEWISH IDENTITY has been established in each and every one of you.

           Today, each of you CONFIRMATION students in your own way has said, I KNOW WHO I AM, I AM A COMMITTED Jewish person and my future has been influenced by my Jewish education. My lifestyle choices will be influenced by what I have LEARNED And my success will be based, in part, upon my Jewish IDENTITY.

           By their words, these 7 are saying to all of you Sunday School  kids, you can look to me as a role model, just as I have looked to my spiritual leaders and my congregational leaders who have been  role models to me.

IN CONCLUSION. Over the years, these students have developed an understanding of the joy of giving, they know that their congregation is a place where they can experience life’s joys with greater meaning and life’s disappointments with less trauma, they recognize Jewish themes in their every day life. Their Judaism is both contemporary and traditional. They have built the foundation to grow and change as GOOD JEWISH PEOPLE.        A GIFT HAS BEEN MADE TO THE SUNDAY SCHOOL IN YOUR HONOR BY THE SYNAGOGUE AND TEMPLE SISTERHOOD. We also have CERTIFICATES OF CONFIRMATION for you to remember this day.