Matthew’s Bar Mitzvah

Shabat Shalom!

In spite of the challenges of the pandemic lockdown a few years ago, Jen & Gabe managed to pull off a beautiful and unique Bar Mitzvah for their oldest son, Jason. It was a touching experience for me personally. And I’m so glad I got to connect with this amazing family during that time. So it was a great honor when Jen & Gabe asked if I would photograph their youngest son’s Bar Mitzvah!

What a contrast a few short years makes!!! Matthew’s Bar Mitzvah was a totally different, but every bit as special an experience! Matthew is a thoughtful, kind, and charismatic young man, who also happens to have a truly gifted voice. His silky smooth vocals during the reading of the Torah, and leading the congregation in worship, resonated throughout the KKBE sanctuary. It truly was one of the most meaningful experiences I’ve had the pleasure of photographing!

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim is located in downtown Charleston. Founded in 1749, this is the first Reform synagogue, and one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the United States! The founding members of the KKBE were Sephardi Jews of Spanish and Portuguese descent. The current 1841 synagogue, featuring an architecturally significant Greek Revival style, was built after the original synagogue was destroyed in a fire in 1838. The present structure is the second oldest synagogue building, and the oldest in continuous use, in the United States.

Later that evening, celebrations kicked into high gear at Hotel Indigo! With a “pre-party” for Matthew and his closest friends, cocktail hour for the adults, the family’s Grand Entrance to the reception, Motzi and challah, DJ Eddie cranking out tunes, Sir Andrew Larris and his dance crew keeping everyone on their feet, a wild and crazy Hora, a Party Boss photo booth, an ice cream sundae station, a glazed donut display, a candy bar, a cocoa-with-marshmallows extravaganza, and personalized sweatshirts for each of his friends…Matthew’s party was off the charts!!!

Many thanks to Rabbi Alexander and Rabbi Kanter for their leadership and guidance during Shabbat Terumah.  And a very special THANK YOU to Sha Sha at Loluma for making sure everything on the Big Day was absolutely perfect!

CONGRATULATIONS on this amazing milestone in your life, Matthew!!! We wish you all the best as you begin this new journey into adulthood…

Jason’s Bar Mitzvah at KKBE

After numerous ups and downs, twists and turns, uncertainty and doubt, Jason was finally able to pull of his incredible Bar Mitzvah last weekend!!!

It may not have been the big party they originally envisioned. But Jason’s amazing parents, Jen & Gabe, worked diligently to make his coming-of-age a very special one! After all, a man only turns 13 once in his life. And just because there’s a pandemic going on doesn’t mean time stands still! So this past weekend, Jason was finally able to assume his religious and legal obligations under Jewish law.

Jason’s celebration was held at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim synagogue, which was founded in 1749, and is one of the oldest Jewish congregations in the United States! It’s an absolutely stunning sanctuary that has recently undergone a beautiful renovation project.

In keeping with social distancing guidelines, only immediate family and grandparents were in attendants. However, a team of specialists were able to arrange it so that all Jason’s family and friends could still attend remotely. Even his Rabbi Stephanie Alexander and Music Minister Robin Shuler were present via the wonders of modern technology.

Many thanks to Sha Sha and her team at Loluma for making dreams come true.  Much appreciation goes to Mark Swick for opening the synagogue and making sure everything went smoothly.  As always, it was a pleasure to be working with my friend and incredible videographer, Ben Hough.  And a HUGE shout out to Jason’s brother, Matthew for his amazing performance during the ceremony!

Congratulations and mazel tov, Bar Mitzvah!!!  You are an INCREDUBLE human being, Jason!  I can’t wait to see what great things you will accomplish in your future.

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