Article by Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, Senior Rabbi, Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue
One of the early innovations of Liberal Judaism was the introduction of Kabbalat Torah (confirmation) at age 15, which in the early days replaced Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Today, Kabbalat Torah gives our young people the opportunity to explore their Jewish identity along with their peers and to enjoy life-changing experiences as a group, often on weekends away including those overseas.
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah service is a on-off personal experience but we often find that the opportunity of Kabbalat Torah within the heart of a sacred community provides lifelong friendships, bonds and ties to peers and community that are invaluable for personal and communal identity.
The final services that mark the conclusion of the Kabbalat Torah process are an essential element of the progressive nature of Liberal Judaism. Our young people have the freedom to mold the traditions of their community with the creativity and innovation that they offer. Graduates are encouraged to continue their Jewish education, personally and as assistant teachers in our chedarim.