We were INCREDIBLY lucky to have Senator Chris Coons and his foreign and defense policy advisor, Halie Soifer, come to Beth Emeth this past Sunday for a joint Confirmation program with our kids, plus the kids from Beth Shalom and Adas Kodesh (plus their parents). It was a great morning, talking about the importance of confirmation, what it means to be politically and socially active, and Israel. Only in Delaware! Below you'll find the write-up that's going in the Jewish Voice by moi (with editing help from Michelle Miller of Federation, Bob Pincus, and Ms. Soifer). Pics by Cantor Mark Stanton.
On Sunday, January 09, 2011, Senator Chris Coons and Halie Soifer, his foreign and defense policy advisor, came to Congregation Beth Emeth to address Jewish teens and their parents on Israel, advocacy and the importance of confirmation.
The group of over 100—the combined confirmation programs of Congregation Beth Emeth, Congregation Beth Shalom and Adas Kodesh Shel Emeth, and their parents—listened and asked questions as Senator Coons and Ms. Soifer talked about their own religious journeys and the importance of confirmation to them personally. The Senator talked about his many connections in college and law school with Jewish peers and his trip to Israel to visit friends, and how that transformed his view of the importance of Israel to the Jewish people. Senator Coons also discussed how Jewish teens have a special gift, an ability to serve as ‘witnesses’ to their friends and peers and heal the world around them. Additionally, he offered his thoughts and concerns for the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday, and his own hope for her recovery. Ms. Soifer discussed her own political awaking as a little girl, watching her father advocate for Soviet Jewry in the 80s, and what we can do to stay informed and involved. Both took questions and the Senator posed for pictures, including a group photo with all the teens.
The group was welcomed by Rabbi Yair Robinson. Rabbi Michael Beals offered a prayer of Shehecheyanu, along with a prayer for healing for Rep. Giffords and Debbie Friedman, the noted Jewish songleader and composer. The program concluded with Cantor Mark Stanton leading the participants in a prayer for peace.