On Martin Luther King Jr. Day this January, I trekked to the Mellins' home on what was honestly the most bitterly cold day we had this winter. You remember? The winter that never left? As in, the one that stuck around through MAY?! Fingers crossed, we've turned a corner here in Minneapolis! My sunshine-loving self can't take any more gloomy doomy days!

Okay, back on track: So it was cold. I walked into the Mellins home and instantly? WARMTH. These five have got that warm, cozy family life down pat. I instantly felt calm in their presence and knew for certain, that if they booked me as Ben's Bar Mitzvah photographer, I'd love every single second. And, as always, they didn't disappoint! They booked on the spot and we got the ball rolling!

The weekend arrive and we were having a warm streak in March, thinking for certain that we could even be brave enough for some outdoor fun family portraits at Mount Zion synagogue. But, as Jack Frost would have it, it snowed what felt like 6 feet on Friday night for the family meal and services. Ben's paternal grandparents + family, being from Florida, thought they had entered a tundra. They pretty much had! They even had to buy winter coats upon landing at the airport! 

Regardless of the weather, the weekend was all about Ben: sweet, endearing, soft-spoken and just plain awesome. This kid is a reader, after my own heart, and he loves soccer and his friends almost as much. Although I wasn't allowed to take photos during the service, I was there in the back, soaking it all in. When us photographers are "working," sometimes it's hard to take a step back and see events and people and emotions and traditions for what they are: beautiful. Of course we capture all these things all the time and for me, it's often in the editing, spending time with your families and seeing the moments I had no idea I captured. We just focus on the focusing, clicking the shutter and being in the moment. Thank you, Mellins, for giving me the gift of experiencing Ben's Bar Mitzvah service 100% fully and honestly. I am forever indebted to this "insider" part of the weekend - part where I finally, having never known any Hebrew, had the opportunity to learn a little bit more and hear Ben's delightful speech. You've got an amazing kid on your hands, but I think you already knew that :)

So! Without any more gabbing on my part - here are the images that I believe captured Ben's Bar Mitzvah the most completely. Special thanks to the ever-awesome Stillmans - you guys rock at referrals!  

xoxo,
Sydnee

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vendor love!
synagogue: Mount Zion Congregation
party: Neighborhood House
event coordination: Event Lab
DJ: Total Entertainment