History: How Did I Get Here? by Alaina Galiano

AlainaGMy entire life, I have been surrounded by Judaism. From my baby naming to my first Hanukkah to my Bat Mitzvah, almost everything has revolved around being Jewish. The people around me have not only supported my Jewish life, but they have changed it drastically as well. Without my family, friends, and rabbi by my side, none of these Jewish things in my life could have been completed. Life changing events such as my Bat Mitzvah and my trip to the RAC in Washington, D.C. have been stepping stones on my path to confirmation.


My Bat Mitzvah, which was three years ago on April 6th, taught me many things. I learned the obvious things such as how to read from the Torah and what my Torah portion was about, but I also learned that it takes hard work, commitment, and determination to complete such a task. I am most definitely a whiner. I complained day and night while preparing for my Bat Mitzvah. Still, no matter how many times I wanted to give up, I never did. I knew that once I made Bat Mitzvah I would understand some things much more clearly. I now understand the feeling, the rush, of being on the bima. I can understand the excitement of leading my congregation in prayer. My Bat Mitzvah taught me that sometimes things get tough, but in the end it will all be worth it. This lesson is only one of the reasons that I decided to continue my journey to being confirmed. 

Ever since learning about the trip in elementary school, I had been looking forward to going to Washington, D.C. I had heard so many things about the trip from previous tenth graders, and I couldn’t wait to experience it myself. Going to the Religious Action Center and being surrounded by people with similar beliefs was indescribable. I felt accepted and almost at home. Sure, not everyone had the same views, but that just made the debates and discussions even better. Our task, to write a speech and lobby on Capitol Hill, taught me a lot. Judaism, by itself, has extremely small numbers, so one could only imagine the even smaller amount of Reform Jews. That fact just adds to the list of reasons why our task was so important. We are the voices, the future, of the Reform movement. Our charisma and passion make up for what we lack in numbers. By lobbying in Washington, D.C. that day, I made a difference in the Reform community. I learned on this trip that even the littlest person can make a difference. This gave me the drive and determination to continue on my path to confirmation and change something in the world.

            We all have stories, things that have made us who we are today. I’ve been molded by different experiences, lessons learned, and people. Judaism has had one of the biggest impacts on me. I’ve lived through numerous Jewish events, and each has affected me differently. Each one of those experiences has taught me something, and led me on my way to confirmation. Now I set out for an even bigger journey, my adult, Jewish filled, life.