Brothers

Every bar mitzvah is unique. 

That's what I love about photographing mitzvahs. 

This weekend's was no different. A wonderful young man, Matthew, came of age in the Jewish faith at Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford. On the bimah, he read from his great grandfather's prayer book, saved somehow from his childhood in Vienna, where he grew up in a vibrant Jewish community. That community was destroyed when the Nazis invaded, and his great grandfather was captured and sent to a concentration camp. His sister managed to be smuggled out to safety. The prayerbook miraculously survived. Written in German and Hebrew, it is inscribed by a rabbi to his great grandfather on the occasion of his bar mitzvah in Vienna in November of 1929.  The great grandfather emigrated to the US after the camps were liberated. The book is the only thing from his early life in Vienna to have survived and was handed to down to Matthew's older brother Andrew on the occasion of his bar mitzvah two years ago.  

What I loved, from the moment we did our bar mitzvah pre-shoot in Elizabeth Park, was his relationship with his two brothers, Andrew, 15, and Ian, 4.  Their smiles, their closeness, Matthew and Andrew's patience with Ian. In short, there was a strength and loveliness - if I can use those words together - to these three handsome, wonderful brothers. 

On the bimah of Congregation Beth Israel, in West Hartford, it was no different. LOVE!!

I also loved that Matthew's father is one of three brothers, and when the uncles joined Matthew at the bimah or during the candle lighting, you can just feel their love for each other and for Matthew. That's a very cool thing to hand down generation to generation. 

Uncles MERLO, David, and Jeff

Uncles MERLO, David, and Jeff

A beautiful party gathered friends and family from the Dominican Republic, California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York and Kansas, with dancing and games, courtesy of DJ Austin Dailey and Red Supreme Productions and incredible food and appetizers by Tallulah's Catering in the light filled Sarah Porter Memorial in Farmington.  

Matthew gets a kiss from Ian, with father Steve looking on.  Sometimes it's the simple moments that speak volumes. 

Matthew gets a kiss from Ian, with father Steve looking on.  Sometimes it's the simple moments that speak volumes. 

Mazel tov Matthew, and his fun loving, spirited parents Steve and Tania, and of course Andrew and Ian.  What a beautiful family! What a joy to share this simcha with you!!

Amherst Commencement

There is something about Amherst students that is absolutely wonderful, and something about being on the idyllic campus that makes my heart feel open and expansive.  That combination always makes for good photographs and a good time.

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I enjoyed working with Amherst photographer Maria Stenzel and seeing Seth Kaye documenting the event for a family. The photojournalist in me relished finding the moments of joy for students that culminated four years of work and learning. I wish them all luck as they move out into the world.