I was so honored to be there for J’s bar mitzvah at the beginning of November. I have been taking pictures of this guy and his family for over a decade now, so seeing him on this incredible day was an exciting thing for me as well.
A Boston MA Bar Mitzvah
I adored arriving before the ceremony so I could capture all the little moments beforehand. I loved when J’s grandfather presented him with his very own tallit and when the rabbi explained to him that some people use them at important events throughout their lives, sometimes even using it as a chuppah to get married under.
J’s relationship with his cantor was also lovely to see. They’d obviously spent so much time working together, and they had a great rapport.
J has always been so mature, but it showed through here when he made sure to welcome people as they arrived at the temple.
A Beautiful Temple Ceremony
The temple itself, by the way, was gorgeous. It had huge, arched ceilings with incredible windows. When it was filled with people and joy and love, it just glowed.
I brought my 18-year-old niece with me as my assistant, and she took some photos of me. Cool, eh? Don’t worry; I didn’t use flash in the sanctuary, of course!
This top image might be my favorite of the entire event. I love how everyone is looking back at J as he comes up the center aisle carrying the Torah. Everyone had such lovely expressions on their faces.
J’s mama and dad has such wonderful things to say about him, and it was so cool to learn more about this young man. I knew some of it from my years of photographing him and his brother and sister, but there were new stories in the mix too, which I adored.
J was so eloquent, thoughtful, and engaged the whole time as he talked about his Torah portion. He had such wonderful things to say.
A Family Celebration
After the morning service, we headed down to the temple basement, which was decked out in a casino theme. I was absolutely blown away by the décor, especially the photos all over the room dividers—they were all moments I had captured over the years of photographing this family.
My heart was in my throat when I saw the room, not only because it was gorgeous but because the photos were so central to the look of the room. I was so honored and so humbled to see those pictures printed so large and displayed so elegantly. All together like that they looked incredible and told such a cool story about a truly great kid.
I was also able to snap some pictures of dad with his brothers and mama. When they’re all in the same place at the same time? Photos are required!
J’s older relatives recited the Hamotzi, and his grandfather cut the challah, which might have been one of my favorite moments of the whole day. The challah was gorgeous (and so was the laughter that erupted during the challah cutting).
Bar Mitzvah Casino Party Fun
Meanwhile, next door, the kids’ casino party was humming. My niece snapped this picture of me taking pictures of the kids at the poker table, though blackjack and roulette were also total favorites.
We have so many great pictures of the kids partying, which I won’t share here, because they're for the family only. But trust me; the kids had an absolute blast. I mean, airbrush tattoos happened. It was epic!
J’s favorite was poker, which meant that the poker table was always filled with happy kiddos.
Congratulations, J! I’m so, so honored to have been there for this wonderful day.
I'm Jessica McDaniel, and May 2017 marked my 14th anniversary photographing babies and their families all around Boston.
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