What is Confirmation and what is its connection to Shavuot?
Confirmation is a Reform-originated ceremony for boys and girls that is tied to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. It constitutes an individual and group affirmation of commitment to the Jewish people. Confirmation, one of the "youngest" Jewish life cycle ceremonies, began less than 200 years ago. Most scholars attribute the creation of confirmation to Israel Jacobson, a wealthy German businessman and a nominal "father" of Reform Judaism. In 1810, expending more than $100,000 of his own money, Jacobson built a new synagogue in Seesen, Germany. He introduced a number of then radical reforms, including the use of an organ and mixed male-female seating. Jacobson felt that bar mitzvah was an outmoded ceremony. Accordingly, when five 13-year-old boys were about to graduate from the school he maintained, Jacobson designed a new graduation ceremony, held in the school rather than the synagogue. In this manner, confirmation came into being.