Jessica's Bat Mitzvah {San Fernando Valley Mitzvah Photographer}

Despite the very hot, sticky and smoky weather, Jessica's Bat Mitzvah was so much fun to shoot!

The Havdalah ceremony was held at Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge.  Because Havdalah is held in the late afternoon and it was over 100˚, we shot pre-ceremony pictures in the sanctuary.

With it's floor to ceiling stained glass windows that frame the carved wooden doors of the ark and the beautiful blue backdrop with the Torahs, it just seemed the right place to begin the shoot.

With Jessica poised to open up the doors, it serves as a metaphor for her discovery and the emerging adulthood that having a Bat Mitzvah means.  I could see the wisdom and maturity in her eyes in the close up pictures we took of her holding the Torah.

A Havdalah ceremony is different from the typical Friday night or Saturday morning Shabbat service.  It marks the end of the 25 hour rest period of Shabbat and three blessings are recited:  over wine, over spices and over fire.  A multi-wicked candle is lit and held aloft for all to see and with a dramatic flourish it's extinguished in the wine.  What is equally compelling is that all the congregants gather close by to share in these blessings, and sing the traditional songs.

After the ceremony, the reception was held at Jessica's house in nearby Chatsworth.  Temperature hovered around 93˚, but it didn't damper the party spirit of the guests!

First of all, thank you Cam Sanders, who was my second shooter and somehow solved the problem of being two places at once.  

And another very very special thanks goes to my niece and assistant, Brooke Goldman, who, showed up right after the 24 hour evacuation orders were lifted after the wildfire was contained in her backyard of the Burbank foothills.  Now that is commitment!

Another shout out goes to the DJ, Entertainer Mitchell Johnson and Mandy with Spotlight LA.  They got the crowd going and organized the timeline so it all flowed just perfectly.

Cornucopia Catering in Van Nuys did a fantastic job with the barbecue theme and had platters and platters of delicious food.   Dessert was an insane assortment of ice cream, cookies, candies and cake!

And bartender Jin Hyong ably served up lots of adult beverages for the very thirsty guests at his Juke Joint Bar.  Can I confess that I drank a nice cold beer toward the end of this great party??!!

The evening ended with a beautiful candle lighting ceremony and lots more dancing with saber lights and colorful necklaces.

Mazel Tov Jessica!