Last weekend I was visiting family in Israel to celebrate my nephew's BarMitzvah. A special event in any diary. Arriving in the town where they live late on Friday and celebrating with them throughout the weekend. More over I was drafted in to take 'official' photographs later in the week when in Jerusalem for both the early morning service and throughout the day as we took part in a Scavenger Hunt organised by the BarMitzvah boy around the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.
It's not easy packing for a holiday and even harder packing 4 days of formal wear that coordinate with your better half. We finally got that bit right, but what's really hard is deciding on the camera kit to take with. I struggled, my nature is to pack everything just incase, but in this case that just wasn't practical and I made the decision to travel light. This trip was no multi camera, multi lens jaunt not matter how much I wanted to grab the fisheye ... may be another time for his younger brother.
Having decided on the single camera, single lens route I packed my Canon 5Dii, a 28-105 L lens a flash for fill in and gels to balance the sunlight to flash light. That I promise you is as technical as this post will get ...
So in the early hours of Tuesday morning we left the hotel to meet up with the others in the party and for ease took a cab to the Western Wall. In case you don't know this is a remarkably special place as it is the what remains of the Second Temple and possibly the most religious place for a Jew to visit.
During the early morning the men gathered around a small table, women standing on chairs looking over the fence, acting as the divider between men and women. It is a truly remarkable experience down in the enclosure of The Wall. Everyone is there for a single purpose regardless of their level of belief, when you are that close and that involved you believe.
As the time drew close for the newest Man of the group to read his portion one last time, repeating his performance from Saturday morning, songs were sung, hands were clapped and men danced. One of the party lifted him to his shoulders and a procession led him from the table to the Wall, to gather the Torah scrolls he would read from. Once back the service continued with various members of the extended family and friends all taking part.
It was a moving experience and one that I had never taken part in before. I was there camera in hand recording it it all for future review. Even now not even a week later a number of these pictures are some of my favourites. An honour to be asked to even take 'snaps' let alone to officially record the event.
You can see all of the pictures here