Posted in Brown/Tanner, Genealogy, Jewish History, Uncategorized

1941 Confirmation Essay

The mystery of my last post is solved.

I had shared the essay my mother had written entitled “How to Face The Future”

I first thought her essay was a graduation speech written about 1946. Rereading and examining it I began to think it may have been written earlier. Posting the essay led to a dialog with Amy, a fellow blogger, well more than a fellow blogger, a woman who has been blogging her families history and discoveries for some time now as well as belonging to a few FB Jewish Genealogy pages that I have joined too. She is an incredible writer bringing detail and life to the past. That is how I met Amy…but back to the ‘essay’ It was Amy’s thought that perhaps the essay was a Confirmation essay and she would be happy to help find out a little more, where had my Mom grown up? That got me thinking and as I went to gather information to share with Amy I discovered something.

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.

I went back to that Union Prayer Book and what I thought was simply a Service program turned out to be the Class of 1941 Confirmation Service Program                                                  My mother was 15 years old.


Her essay was 1 of 3 under the heading The Jew and the World and what a world we were entering into in 1941. It was June of 1941 when my mother wrote her essay and the state of the world was as follows

Hitler gave Himmler broad authority to physically eliminate any perceived threats to permanent German rule. Two weeks later, on July 31, 1941, Nazi leader Hermann Goering authorized SS General Reinhard Heydrich to make preparations for the implementation of a “complete solution of the Jewish question.”  and

December 7, 1941 the day that would live in infamy was around the corner. 

I am once again so awe struck and humbled to be physically holding, care taking these two pieces of my mother’s history, her past, her life. These two intimate and so personal memento’s of her life are literally the only two articles she held on to from her childhood. The actual essay and now the program that dates and explains what the essay represented.

My parent’s left Temple membership when I was about 10 years old but she never left her commitment to the Jewish People; her commitment to herself. Her faith was practiced quietly, at home and in service to her community.

Temple Israel of Lawrence New York where my mother attended as a girl and had her confirmation.

Below is a picture of Temple Emanu-El in New York City @ One East 65th St. All this talk of Temples brought back memories. My mother’s father Benjamin F Tanner (Tannenbaum) was a member here. I remember attending Passover service’s with him in a huge basement banquet type hall. (early 1960’s) The entrance was on the side of the building. My memories are of being overwhelmed by the enormous structure I was entering and the room being massive. The tables were set in a huge u shape. Men, old men in their yarmulke’s, Tallit over their shoulders, beards, odd smells, lots and lots of matzah, wine and grape juice flowing, the Afikoman covered by the Rabbi, breaking it and watching to see where it would be hid. I never went with the kids to look for it…


Now called Temple B’nai Torah in Wantagh, New York; it was known as Suburban Temple when my parents belonged and I attended until about 1963.






16 years ago I located my birth family, both maternal and paternal side. After literally years of searching, even before the help of the internet, I just couldn't stop searching so I began digging into my new found families past. The journey has been amazing as we connect and reconnect lost and found generations.

4 thoughts on “1941 Confirmation Essay

  1. Sharon, I am so glad that I was able to help you solve this one. It’s one of the things I love about genealogy—how everyone supports and helps everyone else. And I am very touched by your kind words about my blog. As you know, doing family history is a true labor of love, and sharing it with others makes it so much more meaningful and fun. I am so glad you started blogging so that I can learn more from you! And you are doing an amazing job with your blog. I am sure you will find as I have that it truly adds to the joy of doing genealogy. Thank you again for your kindness!

I would love to hear from you

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