It’s Monday and I’m still recovering from another Bat Mitzvah Weekend at Temple Beth Am in Tampa. We did temple portraits on Friday morning, family portraits on Saturday morning and then the party that night at Hunter’s Green Country Club in Tampa. It’s a long weekend for me to be sure but it’s nothing compared to what the family does which includes the actual service, a luncheon, brunch and of course entertaining all the out-of-town visitors and family. It’s exhausting I’m sure but also such a great time with family and friends!

Temple Beth Am Bat Mitzvah

This weekend it was Elana’s turn and she was a delight. She was patient and kind and all the things you hope for when working with a teenager who is being asked to do so much. I’m constantly impressed by these kids and their ability to be graceful under pressure.

Temple Beth Am Bat Mitzvah

Here’s What I Saw at Temple Beth Am

I saw something this weekend that I’ve never seen before and I wanted to talk about it a bit because it’s such a great idea. One of the things that the family always does for a Bat Mitzvah is to buy flower arrangements for the bimah (the dais or platform at the front of the temple). I’m always sure to get a picture of these flowers as part of my coverage. But this time, there were no flowers.

This time, there were food baskets.

Temple Beth Am Bat Mitzvah

I found out later that Tracy, Elana’s mother, is Chairman of the Board at Joshua House, a great organization in Tampa that helps abused and neglected children. I guess serving an organization like that tends to make you see everything as an opportunity for good and so she just couldn’t bring herself to buy flowers that would go to waste after a few days. Instead, they decorated food baskets which they will donate to a local food bank after the event.

It’s such a great idea. Here’s a chance to donate to a great cause and help some people without spending any money… I mean, you would spend the money on the flowers anyway, right? It’s the sort of thing I would love to see become a tradition in Temple Beth Am and other houses of worship everywhere. What a great idea!

I haven’t even started working on the images yet but I’ll be posting a bunch in a few weeks when they are ready. In the meantime, here’s my page for Bar Mitzvah Photography in Tampa Bay.