Sam's Bar Mitzvah | San Francisco

I’ve photographed Jewish celebrations before, but this was my very first Bar Mitzvah in a Synagogue and it was such an experience and honor! I’m guessing the majority of Temples don’t even allow photography, so with this honor came requirements; that I be as quiet as a mouse, remain as still as a sloth and unless I wanted to be struck down from Heaven above, under no circumstances could I use flash. So I planted myself up in the balcony, with a camera sitting on the bench to my left and another on my right (different lenses for different perspectives) and I removed my flash to eliminate any chances of me bumping the on switch. The ceremony was really fascinating and there were several moments that brought tears to my eyes. For instance Sam dedicated his Bar Mitzvah to a 6 year old Jewish boy (whom he named) that died in the Nazi concentration camps. Deep breath!

The ceremony was at the amazing Emanu-El Temple in San Francisco, which has some of the most exquisite architecture I’ve ever seen; inside and out! And then the celebration continued at the Forest Hills Club with lots of food, music and silly games for the gaggle of teens.

Here are some moments from the first part of his day:

And here are some architectural photos that I couldn’t resist! Sam’s ceremony was in the smaller more intimate part of the building which was perfect for his family, but I did get a chance to walk over to the amazingly grand other “wing” (I’m sorry, I’m fumbling for the correct terminology since I’m not Jewish) and it was such a sight!! Take a moment to visualize yourself sitting in the pew and then you begin to understand the scale of the building!

Here are some moments from the second part of his day:

Venues: Emanu-El Temple, Forest Hills Clubhouse

Catering: Michael Goldstein

Event Planning: Patty Steinberg, Noteworthy Events