This is the last post. For now.
Thank you so, so much to everyone that has been following and reading these threads. I have never gotten so immensely personal in my blog before and I’ve always felt there wasn’t anyone listening so it’s been so uplifting hearing from people. One of the consistencies in the responses that I’ve had from my Jewish friends lies in storytelling which is something I am ALL about. I’ve received stories/anecdotes from several people (many involving the Rebbe) and it’s been truly remarkable. Keep them coming, they are a source of inspiration and wonderment for me.
One thing that I had hoped for in posting the personal stories of the people I’ve met is that I want everyone to become real. I want empathy built in the same way it was built for me. When we find ways to relate to each other, compassion and tolerance often follows (hopefully). I was once “afraid” to talk to anyone Orthodox. So many questions and “myths” in my head fed much of that fear.
You never know where the road will lead you if you remain open to what, or who, has been standing in front of your face this whole time. Turn around from facing the corner and look around at the great space behind you. If nothing else I hope that at least one person out there may be less afraid to engage their neighbor in conversation today.
Before I close this off, there is one other person who is very special to me that I want to bring (back) into the picture. I feel so ingrained in her life and family that I really wanted to give back a way that I think many will appreciate.. with storytelling. But this will be visual storytelling, I’m much better with images than words.
And I think if I start writing I may get lost because she’s no longer living nearby and that will make me sad.
Remember Chanie? She told me at a wedding when we first met that I was going to be her wedding photographer. She just had to find the guy first.
Then Chanie met Uli.
She has great taste:
This has always been a favorite:
I love this image because Uli looks like a movie star with all the girls photographing him during his public introduction!
And then I had another new experience! A Lag BaOmer wedding! (To learn of Lag BaOmer go here: LagBaOmer).
The below image is one of my favorite wedding images I’ve ever taken. Everything is lined up perfectly, every important person is clearly seen. I see the feelings I have during the bedeken, the moment the bride and groom see each other finally, the loving looks of the parents, the excitement of the guests gathered around, the hands conveying care to each other. The son/brother on the left smiling to his mother as she grabs his arm in a flurry of emotions a mom would have on this day. And the strength the bride’s mom gives to her daughter as she holds the veil on her head.
The moment when that veil comes off and they can look at each other, as husband and wife. I love this moment.
And this is one my favorite moments from the entire wedding day. I will never forget this moment. Driving to their portrait session, Uli looks over at Chanie with a look of pure wonderment. He is married, this is his wife. He is embarking on a new life on this day. I will never know what was in his head that day, but these are things that I saw in this expression on his face.
Below photograph by Steven Fontas:
And then…. a sweet baby boy. Bentzi.
And then I learned about “making Aliyah” – basically, moving to Israel.
Be well my friends!
Thank you everyone for reading to the end.
I hope to expand on my friendships! If you know anyone getting married, please pass along my name! And… I do travel. I haven’t been to Israel yet. Will it be for you???????? 😀