Bengy's Bar Mitzvah

Nobody is more possessive or prouder of anything than a new Bar Mitzva boy of his brand new hat! The ultimate symbol of manhood, the black hat worn by Orthodox Jewish men is first purchased for the 13 year old boy. After his Bar Mitzva he will typically wear it on the Sabbath and Jewish Holidays, although in some circles it is worn every day from the Bar Mitzva onward. And the way that hat gets guarded over and taken care of is unrivalled anywhere! (Siblings – beware! Don’t even breathe near it, let alone even think about touching it!)

Look how Benjy is beaming here. Can you see his sweet pride as he has just become a ‘grownup’? His is the first Bar Mitzva in the family, and the excitement is palpable.

I love doing Bar Mitzva pictures because there is such a vitality and eagerness here – very different to the sheer thrill and excitement of a wedding.

This Bar Mitzva was being held on Sabbath morning in a local hall (Ohr Yerushalayim) ; since I obviously couldn’t do the photography on the actual day (for religious reasons), I met the family in the hall on Friday afternoon. They were all ready in their new party dresses, with hair and makeup done to perfection.

The walls in this hall have large textured stones which are reminiscent of Jerusalem; they were the perfect backdrop for the photos.

We really enjoyed doing these lovely family portraits, with the children and parents all having their turn – both in groups and separately – in the spotlight. I love the way the pictures came out. You can see how happy they are and how much they are looking forward to this major milestone event in their family.

Benjy’s family made use of a clever tip which I like to suggest to my clients. They made a list before they came of who they want to have pictures with, so as not to come home afterwards and realise ‘we never had a picture with Great Uncle Sam’. It’s also useful to write on your list which picture combos you want, eg, Grandma with girls, Grandma with boys, etc.

On Saturday night they had a Reception in the grandparents’ house for family and friends to come and wish them Mazel Tov. It was fun to take pictures of the beautifully set tables and the happy people who came to join the celebration.

We wish Benjy‘s family much nachas – an untranslatable word which means so much more than just happiness!

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