By Johanna Schoss
Temple Sinai Confirmation Students Dive in Deeply to Explore Their Jewish Heritage
What a way to spend a Sunday morning! Ellen Goldberg Weiner has created perhaps the most innovative confirmation program ever. The confirmation class gathers once each month for a new adventure into their Jewish heritage. Each month they explore a new topic linking issues of Jewish tradition and social justice, community and ethical responsibility. But the course is not restricted to book learning by any means. The class integrates field trips, hands-on activities, or public service work into every class session.
Temple Sinai’s Confirmation Class
Chef Stuart Beck
Today Temple Sinai of Cinnaminson’s confirmation class spent the morning with Temple Sinai’s own Chef Stuart Beck making chicken soup and discussing Jewish food traditions. The class began with Chef Stu talking about how cooking binds us across the generations as he described some of the traditions and cooking secrets he learned as child making chicken soup in his mother’s kitchen. As the students gathered the ingredients in their own kitchens, Chef Stu taught the class how to cut up and prepare the chicken, sharing a quick Yiddish lesson at the same time on the difference between pulkes (‘thighs’) and pipik (‘belly button’). In each of their homes, the students chopped vegetables and herbs and prepared their own soup pots, while Chef Stu taught them good kitchen techniques and shared tales of different soup-making traditions. During breaks in the food preparation, the students and Ellen discussed issues of food insecurity and ways the pandemic has exacerbated this national crisis. Once the cooking demonstration was over, and each student had their own pot of soup simmering on the stovetop, the class lecture continued into a discussion of food as an important dimension of culture and identity. The students discussed foods associated with various Jewish holidays, and how food bind groups together and build bridges across cultural and political divides. The students each shared their own research on contemporary Jewish chefs and landmark Kosher restaurants.
Temple Sinai’s confirmation is open to all high school students interested in exploring their Jewish heritage regardless of synagogue membership. If you would like more information about the program, please contact the Temple Sinai office at: TempleSinaiNJ2101@gmail.com, or by phone at: 856-829-0658.