Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Nathan Magid’s bar mitzvah as a guest. No photos, no running around making sure I get all the important people and details of the day. It is great being part of Berkeley’s Beth El community where I have many friends and where I have watched many kids grow up.
Nathan Magid is one such kid. When I joined Beth El, his mom was pregnant with him so I literally watched him grow. He is the youngest of 4 kids. His grandparents were some of the community’s early members and Grandpa Albert continues to be a constant and regular fixture of the community. Nathan’s parents, Dan and Robinn, are also central and active members of the synagogue. So, when Nathan became a bar mitzvah, a large gathering of the tribe attended. I was particularly happy to see the whole family participate throughout the entire service: Dan chanting numerous prayers and reading Haftorah; Robinn reading prayers and the other three kids reading and participating in rituals. I always love the L’dor va’dor, “from generation to generation”, passing of the torah from Grandparents to parents to child. Judaism is communal and multi-generational. It pleases me to be part of the community and to witness and participate in my heritage.
While I did not have the pleasure of photographing the bar mitzvah, earlier this year I did photograph the three generations. Where did Dan and Robinn want to take their family portraits? Beth El, of course. It’s like their second home.
As you can probably see, everyone in the family has a distinct personality. They are all interesting and funny and love family. I got a kick out of spending time with them and getting to know them better individually and as a group. So, when I saw them all together at Nathan’s special day, celebrating him and celebrating family, tradition and being together, I knew it was genuine.
Mazel tov to Nathan and to Dan and Robinn.