Beth-El Congregation Confirmation Class perseveres
Photo: Courtesy Beth-El Congregation
The 2020 confirmands continued their weekly meetings throughout the COVID-19 crisis. They are pictured here with Rabbi Brian Zimmerman earlier in the year, before stay-at-home orders took effect. Clockwise, from bottom left, are Rabbi Zimmerman, Nathan Press, Ari Simon, Bixby Klos, Townes Barlow, Dylan Mandel, Maddie Sankary, Gianna Razack, Itay Rekhelis. Not pictured, Chloe Feld.

By Hannah Simon
Due to COVID-19, the Confirmation Class at Beth-El Congregation was significantly altered. The class met every Sunday morning at its regular time but by Zoom, instead of in Rabbi Brian Zimmerman’s office. The Confirmation Class of 2020 consists of: Townes Barlow — son of Ben Barlow and Alice Pritchard; Chloe Feld — granddaughter of Eddie and Debbie Feld; Bixby Klos — son of Ethan and Ricki Klos; Dylan Mandel — son of Corey and Neta Mandel; Nathan Press — son of Rick Press and Liz Manion; Gianna Razack — daughter of Kerim and Milena Razack; Itay Rekhelis — son of Alex and Marina Rekhelis; Maddie Sankary — daughter of Mike and Kristin Sankary; and Ari Simon — son of Robert and Cindy Simon. Many of the confirmands have parents and grandparents who were confirmed at Beth-El. In addition to Rabbi Zimmerman, Red Goldstein teaches the Beth-El Confirmation class.
Rabbi Zimmerman was pleased that the class continued to meet and feel close despite the virtual platform. “Luckily, our yearly trip to Austin had just taken place so that we were able to continue weekly classes on Zoom with a sense of connection that Zoom does not always allow.” Ordinarily the confirmands would be celebrated at a service near Shavuot, but Rabbi Zimmerman explained that the service will be held in October.
“We made a decision to postpone a formal ceremony for the class until October when all the students can take part in Consecration with our youngest students during the celebration of Simchat Torah,” he said.
Each student completed a Confirmation project showing what their Judaism meant to them. The projects ranged from woodwork, to Jewish cookbooks, to paintings. Everyone did something meaningful to them. Under normal circumstances, the confirmands would bring their projects to the synagogue to share with the congregation, but unfortunately they were only able to present them to each other over Zoom.
When asked, “How has he managed during the pandemic?” Rabbi Zimmerman answered,
“On Friday nights, I have a routine of getting dressed up and going to the Temple, and Saturdays I do Havdallah. The Temple has been constantly trying to think ahead. Although we are still not holding services, we hope to open up some possibilities of people seeing each other later in the summer.” Rabbi Zimmerman has appointed a committee to plan for the gradual reopening of synagogue activities.

Leave a Reply