Brett Bookbinder

Brett Bookbinder


 I pray that everyone in the entire world wakes up one day and need not worry that taking a walk is putting their lives in danger.


What Does Confirmation Mean to Me?  Confirmation means more opportunities to learn.

Hope – My dreams for the world of the future

      An important part of being a Jew is being a part of the Jewish community. Being part of a community means contributing, and in return, receiving support. I have been lucky enough to be a part of the Temple Rodeph Torah community ever since I was born.

      I feel like I grew up in this building — going to very young people’s Shabbat, to sitting on the sanctuary floor singing songs with the Rabbi and Cantor.  I recall Chanukah services where we all light our Chanukah candles together. My first educational experience was at TRT when I attended “Mommy and Me” when I was just three months old. After this, I started to attend nursery school at Temple Rodeph Torah. When my nursery school days ended, I attended religious school and celebrated my bar mitzvah on this bima.

     I have been around the Temple Rodeph Torah community for 15 years now, and I have loved every moment of it. Everyone here works hard to make this place welcoming and special. So many people in the TRT family jump at every opportunity they have to volunteer and help out in the community. One of the biggest examples of this happens every year at Yom Kippur. As a temple, the community donates tons and tons of food to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties Food because the Jewish community takes to heart the concept of tzedakah.

This year I was able to participate in the Sandy Teen Fellowship run by the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County. As one of the selected tenth graders, I helped repair a home in Sea Bright damaged during Hurricane Sandy. We also met once a month for leadership training. This summer I look forward to further expanding my Jewish horizons by going on the NFTY in Israel trip with Camp Harlam. In Israel, I will be able to explore the Jewish heritage and learn more about my religion.

    Being a member of the Jewish community has given me many opportunities throughout my life. Every summer, I attend camp at the Union for Reform Judaism’s Camp Harlam. Over my five summers at Camp Harlam, I have learned to love the Shabbat songs that we sing and the challah that we eat. At camp, I spend a month up in the Pocono Mountains with no electronics, no internet, and no video games. Most kids my age would not be able to survive in these conditions, but I view it as an opportunity to connect with Judaism without the distractions of everyday life. One of my favorite parts of Camp Harlam is Shabbat services. Every Friday night, everyone at camp dresses up in white, and we walk up to chapel on the hill. Celebrating Shabbat at camp is a completely different experience than celebrating it at home. It is cool to see so many people all at the same place for the same exact reason.

At my bar mitzvah I said, “One day, far in the future, I want to stand here with my children as they become bar/bat mitzvah.” Now I want to add that, three years later, I still want to sit where my parents are sitting while they are confirmed.