Eli is called to the Torah
On Saturday I attended and photographed the bar mitzvah of Eli, son of my good friends Jonathan and Eve. An incredible passage and celebration for a young person marking their movement into young adulthood within the Jewish community.
It was a beautiful, moving ceremony filled with joy and friendship and family, and I was delighted to be able to photograph it for them. Jonathan and Eve and their son were our next door neighbors (this was before the addition of their other son, Noah). We live on the edge of a huge gorge with a dramatic drop of about 200 feet at the edge. It’s spectacular to see, but dangerous for small children, so Jonathan and Eve and Eli moved to a new house rather than obstruct the beautiful view with a fence. The house now belongs to Eve’s parents, Joan and Joel, who are now our wonderful neighbors to the south.
The ceremony took place at Tikkun v’Or Synagogue in Lansing under a beautiful blue sky, a day that was Kodak picture perfect. Eli is an impressive and handsome young man with deep thoughts and concerns matched with the spirit and exuberance of a teenage boy. The service was touching and tender filled with the love of family and community and a beautiful example of how a community can come together to support and bless the growth of a young man and celebrate all that he is and represents.
He had obviously made a deep and serious commitment to this process after some personal struggle over it’s meaning and significance. His parents are both loving, generous, spiritual people that have given him the freedom to express and decide for himself the value of such life lessons and commitments. And it was a courageous decision on Eli’s part requiring a great deal of study and hard work. Congratulations to you, young man.
Aunt Gini and Uncle Irving hosted the Kiddush luncheon afterwards in the tent outside and dinner and a larger party took place later in the evening by Cayuga Lake at Taughannock State Park. The stiff breeze off the water subsided as the evening progressed and fabulous food by Word Of Mouth Catering from Trumansburg was a treat for everyone.
Fantastic, lively music from the Cornell Klezmer Ensemble had everyone spinning and dancing while the sun set over Cayuga Lake. As a photographer, these events are such a wonderful opportunity for capturing the whole sense of family and community. The beautiful faces of children, the friends not seen for years, and the love expressed on such an occasion are moments to be recorded and savored. They are our culture, our history, our future, our lives expressed fully in an all too brief moment.
It’s seldom that we have large gatherings of this type. Weddings, monumental anniversaries, retirement parties, family reunions, and bar and bat mitzvahs. With family spread far and wide, friends that we only see on such occasions, they are moments of great love, friendship, and sharing. The photographer gets to be inspired and witness this expression of love as both guest and participant and hopefully leave the family with cherished evidence to accompany their memories. It’s a good thing.