A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to photograph the morning service at Beth Shalom temple in Squirrel Hill. As part of my “Communities” project, I would like to document as many different Pittsburgh communities as I possibly can. That being said, I have special interest in the Jewish community. Having grown up in the Soviet Union, religion has always been a taboo topic at home or at school. Also, given the ever-present antisemitism, I did not find out that I were Jewish until I was 12. I’ve been learning more about my heritage and culture in the recent years thanks to my kids, but having an opportunity to observe and document a religious service was a welcome experience. Many thanks to Rabbi Adelson and the Congregation Beth Shalom community for welcoming me.
Rachel’s Bat Mitzvah was amazing – she is one of the most self-confident and poised girls I have ever met. A few weeks before her big event I met with Rachel to record a brief sound byte for her Bat Mitzvah video montage – she felt so at ease in front of the camera and spoke with such grace that it was easy to forget that I was talking to a 13-year-old. I was really honored to photograph Rachel and her family. Big thanks to Robin Kimberly for helping me capture the party.