Zachary’s Bar Mitzvah

Mazel Tov!

Machado Photography just experienced a very exciting first….I was honoured to be invited to photograph a Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

Several years ago when I worked a part-time job at a shop called FAB, I met a lady named Alysse. We had a great chat about my photography, and she remembered me when it came time for her family to celebrate her son Zachary’s momentous occasion. I had never been to a Bar Mitzvah, so I decided to learn about what it is before I headed to Temple Shalom at the University of Waterloo for the big day!

I knew that it is a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony, and that it is a very important milestone in a young man’s life, but I wasn’t completely sure of what a Bar Mitzvah signifies and what would take place at the ceremony. (I know that there’s a different ceremony for girls called a Bat Mitzvah, but since this is about Zachary’s big day, I’ll focus on what I learned about Bar Mitzvah!)

In the Jewish faith and culture, boys become Bar Mitzvah when they turn 13 years old; they are considered to be adults. The ceremony acknowledges that, among other things, he is now responsible for his own actions, must follow the commandments and can take part in leading services.

Zachary had a lot of work to do in the months before the ceremony. He studied the 613 mitzvahs of the Torah (the Temple’s Torah is the beautiful, elaborate scroll that you see in many of the pictures), studying the fundamentals of Judaism, including the laws regulating daily life, he learned traditional readings and chanting the Haftarah. It took months of hard work to prepare.

A Bar Mitzvah ceremony takes place as part of the prayer service, and marks the first time Zachary was called up to participate in the readings. He made his family and friends proud at his ceremony and did so well with his readings and speech. There were blessings from the rabbi and lovely words from Zachary’s family.

After Zachary’s reading, the members of the congregation followed the tradition of showering him with candy, symbolizing the beginning of a sweet life. The kids in attendance made sure that no one tripped over any stray candy by picking up every last one!

After the ceremony there were more celebrations, including a slide show of family pictures, wonderful food and much laughter and happiness.

I met so many wonderful people at the ceremony and captured a lot of proud smiles on camera.
I was so honoured to be part of this amazing day and important milestone.
Mazel Tov, Zachary….the best is yet to come!

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