On Friday night 13 students at my synagogue were confirmed in their Jewish faith. I asked each of them to talk about their beliefs. Yet, I soon began to doubt whether this question was appropriate.


When do we know what we believe? Surely not at 13 or 16.

Mark Twain famously said, “When I was 14, my father knew nothing. I could hardly stand to have him around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

Twain is, of course, referring to himself. He grew immensely during those seven years.

Why, then, do most churches and synagogues have confirmation between ages 14 and 16? Surely, even though we may think we have all the answers, we do not know all we believe at age 16.

The reason is identity. During these mid-teenage years, we struggle to know who we are. We can always change and grow, but as adolescents we are discovering and building the foundation.

The point of confirmation is not to end our religious learning. It is to set it on a life-long direction. Faith is not something fossilized at age 16. It is a eternal wellspring of love, learning and transformation.

Rabbi Evan

I show the way Jewish wisdom make our lives richer and happier. In particular, I help Jews appreciate their heritage and Christians uncover the Jewish roots of their faith. Get my FREE Jewish holidays cheat sheet by clicking here.

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