A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of photographing a Torah Dedication Ceremony at The Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park, NYC. I didn’t know too many details of the event leading up to the day but it didn't sound too crazy. A Torah would be written. I’d take my photos. And that was that.
I have never had a more visceral and emotional response to a photo shoot. The entire day felt nothing like a job but more like an honor. It was three hours of continuous “ah-ha” moments for why I do what I do. At every turn I thought, “this is why I am a photographer”.
I don’t know if it was the energy in the air from Sukkas all week or the upcoming holiday of Simchas Torah that got me all into Torahs but there were so many times throughout this ceremony I felt my heart drop down to my stomach and had to wipe tears off my face before snapping my next photograph.
I have attempted to write this blog post numerous times to no avail. It felt challenging to string together words that captured the essence of the ceremony. And then I read Jacob Kamaras article he wrote for JNS.org.
Jacob is the grandson and namesake of the man this Torah was written in honor of: Sgt. Jacob Kamaras, z"l (US Army Corps 1942 - 1945). Jacob's father Phillip experienced the death of his father when he was only 8 years old and this Torah was writen in honor of his 50th yartzheit. The torah took one year for the sofer (scribe) to write. Upon completion at this ceremony it was presented to the US Military and will now ride aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford(CVN-78) aircraft to be used by Jews serving in the military.
I have provided the link to the article below because it so perfectly summarizes this meaningful day.
It turns out it was possible to string together words to capture the essence of the ceremony and I wasn't about to try and beat this: