Laughing, talking with everyone, introducing children to each other, leaning over the fence to wave and say "hi" - that was Sarah - the first time I met her - it was her first day of kindergarten - yep! She stuck in my memory! I thought, "I'd like my kiddo to get to know HER!" She has remained one of the most friendly, social, kind, and inclusive people I know.
Sarah's family were some of the first to hire my fledgling biz 4 years ago, see her grandparents' 60th anniversary photoshoot here. See the senior portraits of Sarah's sister, Hannah, here. I've known for years that I would be able to shoot Sarah's Bat Mitzvah - totally exciting to me - and it seemed like forever to wait! Good things are worth the wait :) All the years of Sarah's Hebrew studies led to this celebratory event, and the beginning of her studies of the Torah as an adult. Sarah led this Sukkot service, reading the Torah portion in Hebrew, and giving her own thoughts on Exodus chapter 32 and second chances. Jo James joined me as second photographer :) Jo & I felt so privileged to be a part of this event!
Oh, such silly photos from our getting-ready-hair-&-makeup part of our day - which I promised-not-to-show-anyone! But this cutie is ok:
Pro hair & make up for Sarah, mum & sister, provided by Lisabella :) I will tell you, as each of those ladies strode into the temple one by one, they each took my breath away!
Test-test shot that is - pure Sarah -
We are at Temple De Hirsch Sinai:
Then a cozy respite from hustle & bustle to relax and sign paperwork with Rabbi Aaron Meyer, and witness Neil Weinstein.
Sarah commits to a lifetime study of the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah.
Now off to the ceremony :)
The ceremony is so beautiful - the reading of the Torah is like singing. The lettering in the scroll is like art. The beautiful acoustic music by Neil Weinstein was welcoming & comforting, like a hug from family. I could listen all day. Doreen brings the tallis bag to Sarah and presents her beautiful handmade tallit to her daughter. Sarah will wear this prayer shawl for this service. It matches Sarah's kippa, her head covering, also handmade by her Mum.
The Ark is opened and the Torah in Sukkot (Feast of Booths) dress is brought out.
The Torah is ceremonially handed down from generation to generation :) All Sarah's grandparents, and her parents, and Sarah. Then Sarah walks the Torah through the congregation:
Sarah's family members join Rabbi Meyer & Sarah for opening the Torah and reading blessings,
and Sarah reads the Torah portion for this day.
Then the scroll is raised and dressed.
Sarah gives a talk with thoughts about the reading. Her parents each give a talk about Sarah :)
Sarah is presented with gifts & certificates from teachers, and then helps put the Torah into the Ark.
Her friends join in the singing.
Celebration begins as the ceremony ends - a bus ride to the Legacy Ballroom at the Hilton Garden Inn of Issaquah :)
Sarah's Mum, Doreen, and friends created the table decorations!
An item of ceremony is the candle lighting: Candles are lit by various groups of Sarah's family & friends. A gift has been given to a charity in honor of each group, a cause Sarah chose that is special to their hearts.
And now the lights dim -
DJ Hayden Hall is in the HOUSE :)
Eat, drink, be merry :)
A slideshow of Sarah throughout her life settles the action for a few minutes.
Artist Vincent Yee makes guests' caricatures!
And the Hora dance, Sarah's Dad & Grandpa & Uncles raising Sarah's chair high in the air!! & circles of dancers all around her -
Sarah! I was enraptured by your whole event :) I loved it and could have stayed forever.
Congratulations, young Bat Mitzvah :)
I am impressed by your dedication and vitality!!
Sarah's family and friends can download your free photos here:
A short video with sound bytes: