Yesterday I had the privilege of photographing Ellis’s bar mitzvah at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill. What an absolutely perfect sunny summer day! It was joyous to be outside enjoying the sunshine, without intense heat.

Ellis and his family were all smiles. If Ellis was nervous at all, I certainly couldn’t tell.

Signing the certificate before the service with Rabbi Symons, whose joy, wit and sincerity I really can’t begin to describe. I am sure that the members of the Temple Sinai congregation must know how lucky they are to have a leader like him. A few last wishes of good luck from Ellis’s parents. Ellis wore a tallit that belonged to his great-grandfather. The Torah is passed from generation to generation…

… and then carried through the congregation.

My favorite part of the service is hearing the bar mitzvah boy (or bat mitzvah girl) speak about their study and service. Ellis spoke about joy, and by way of demonstration, indulged in a little chocolate. It’s also a pleasure to hear parents address their child and talk about how far they’ve come and what still lies ahead. I’ll never forget Ian’s final words to Ellis. After Carol, Ellis’s mother, described Ellis as “relentless,” Ian instructed Ellis that he should put that relentlessness to good use in his practice of Judaism. “Be a relentless Jew,” Ian said.

Mazel tov, Ellis!



Christina Montemurro Photography is a top-rated photography studio specializing in special events, including weddings and bar mitzvahs, serving the greater Pittsburgh area. Christina’s focus is on creating genuine, heartfelt, relaxed images, with extraordinary attention to detail and customer service. Christina is proud offer Pittsburgh bar mitzvah photography. Contact Christina now to check availability for your engagement session, wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. Christina has been rated among top Pittsburgh photographers. You can read reviews by Christina’s past brides and grooms here and here.