12.24.16 Desert Bat Mitzvah

Rona is my fiancé’s  younger cousin. She is bright, passionate and extremely empathetic. She is one of those people who can connect with individuals of all ages, even as a child. I consider her a friend and she is 12.

White Stockings in the Desert

Her family moved to Tucson three years ago, and the move has not been the easiest on the kids. They grew up in Portland, Oregon and were used to a very different environment and culture. However, they have all adapted in their own time to the desert, having to drive everywhere, more conservative political views and packrats.

This December, I had the honor to photograph Rona’s Bat Mitzvah. I have not had much exposure to Judaism and  I really enjoyed learning more about the traditions and history of the religion.  I was amazed with how much work is required at such a young age to make a Bat Mitzvah.  It is incredible and we were all so proud of her!

Bat Mitzvah Hugs

The Shabbat Ceremony had lots of singing and every family member did a reading (I even had to put the camera down and go up.) I was especially touched during her parents’ blessings for their daughter during the Shabbat. Their speeches were powerful with perfect delivery (keep in mind they are both college professors, so they kind of have it down). It was beautiful to hear parents articulate specifically why they are so proud of their child, how excited they are to see the child continue to grow, and how they cherish their evolving relationship.


I think it is an amazing right of passage for a young person during this transitional period of their life. In addition to the celebration and honoring of individual, the Bat Mitzvah process is an empowering experience for the young person. They take on a lot of responsibility in both their studies, and executing the day. It builds self-efficacy and confidence.

Oh yea, and the party was a blast!

Hora at Bat Mitzvah

Hora with young man at Bat Mitzvah

Hora with woman at Bat Mitzvah

Hora with man at Bat Mitzvah

Dancing at Bat Mitzvah

We can’t wait to see where you go and what you do Rona!

Father and daughter after Shabbat

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