This past Saturday I had the privilege of photographing Eli’s bar mitzvah at Temple Sinai in Squirrel Hill. I’ve been there before for bar mitzvahs, but this was the first time I’ve been there during sukkot, so the first time I was there with this beautiful sukkah on the bimah.

Here’s Eli, the bar mitzvah boy, braving the cold for a few photos outside prior to the service.

Eli had a few moments to look over his readings before the service, and his parents, Randi and Peter had a few moments to make their final adjustments. And in the very final moments before the service began, Eli and his parents joined Rabbi Gibson in his office to sign his official certificate. Eli exchanges a smile with someone in the front row… I can’t say for sure, but I suspect it was his younger brother, Parker. The Torah is handed down through the family, and then it’s Eli’s turn to carry it through the congregation. This was the first time I attended a bar mitzvah service led by Rabbi Gibson, as the past two had been led by Rabbi Symons. Both are so warm, articulate, approachable, humorous and engaging. I am sure the members of Temple Sinai realize how lucky they are to have these gentlemen! This next photo was one of my favorite Rabbi Gibson moments. As the gentleman on the left side of the photo made his way toward the bimah, his son clearly wanted to join him. Rabbi Gibson encouraged him to come on up. Since he was too little to see over the podium, Rabbi Gibson scooped him right up. I could see that he was whispering to the little guy – who knows what, but it yielded this smile. Finally Eli’s turn. The service was also captured by TJ Clark of Video Masters. At the end of the service, Eli’s parents spoke of how proud they were of their boy. Mazel tov!A brief luncheon followed. I’ll share just one photo. Typically, I don’t ever shoot photos of people eating. And if I did… it’s pretty unlikely I’d share them. However I’m going to make an exception for this little boy, who was chomping his bagel with such fierce intent, I couldn’t resist. On to the party! Eli and his family and friends celebrated the momentous occasion at The Pittsburgh Golf Club adjacent to Schenley Park. What a perfect time and place for a family photo!And a sibling photo – Eli is joined here by his brother, Parker, and his sister, Sadie. Kids and adults alike enjoyed a basketball game provided by Elf Entertainment, and there was also a photo booth provided by SweetPix Photo Booths.But… the party was made into a PARTY by the crew of Soundtastic Entertainment. I was skeptical that 13-year-old boys would want to dance, but I was WAY wrong about that one. They were enthusiastic, tireless and unstoppable. You know, I was originally thinking that I was describing the guests when I typed that last sentence, but the same applies to the dancers, too. Everyone had a little down time as Eli’s dad, Peter, gave a short speech and then presented a slideshow.… and while the kids were distracted, the caterers set up this amazing display of desserts by Bella Christie.Hora time! Eli, both of his parents, and his brother each took a turn.

Eli, it was an honor to document this remarkable day for you and your family! Thank you.


The Credits

Service: Temple Sinai

Videography: TJ Clark, Video Masters

Party: Pittsburgh Golf Club

DJ, Dancing & Entertainment: Soundtastic Entertainment

Balloons: Balloony Bin (such a great name!)

Pop A Shot game:  Elf Entertainment

Photo booth:  SweetPix Photo Booths

Dessert: Bella Christie



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 loves being a Pittsburgh bar mitzvah photographer!  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.