Chuck Fishman Photography
Hi, I'm Adam. I started studying my haftarah* more than 6 months before my actual Bar Mitzvah day.            
(*hahf-TOH-ruh: A section read from the Prophets, after the weekly Torah portion in the Synagogue Service.) I met with Cantor Hal once a week to help me practice my torah,* haftarah and prayers.
(*TOH-ruh: The Law of God as recorded in the first five Books of the Bible) At night I practiced in my room. I learned how to put on tefillin*.
(*teh-FILL-in: Leather boxes strapped to the forehead and arm containing scrolls of Torah passages.)
I'm reciting a personal prayer, which I wrote for my Bar Mitzvah, in front of the ark*.
(*An acronym of aron kodesh (AH-rohn KOH-desh), lit., holy chest.  The cabinet where the Torah scrolls are kept.)
I'm practicing the Shema.*  I'm covering my eyes because when you say it you're supposed to have full concentration.
(*Sheh-mah: "Hear!", the first word of the Jewish declaration of faith, 'Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.)
I don't know what's inside that cabinet under the bimah* and I'm curious.   (*BEE-muh: The pedestal on which the Torah scrolls are placed when they are being read in the synagogue; i.e., the pulpit.)
I'm shopping for a tallis* and seeing which one is most comfortable and looks the best on me.
 (*TAH-lis: Prayer Shawl used by Jewish males to wrap around their bodies during prayer.)
I'm looking and comparing different tallis bags on the Lower East Side in NYC.
I'm getting tailored for my Bar Mitzvah suit. The tailor is measuring my neck.

I'm trying on a suit in a men's dressing room.  I wasn't the only one trying on suits.
Seeing how I look in the suit that I chose.
On the bimah at a morning service, 9 days before my actual Bar Mitzvah ceremony, for my ufruf.*
(*UF-ruf: usually for a groom before his wedding, being called up to read from the Torah and be blessed by the people.)
Being called up to the Torah for my first aliyah.*
(*uh-LEE-uh: literally, ascension.  Going up to the Torah to read, it is considered an honor.) My first aliyah. After services, I got gifts and went to school. Rabbi Berkman congratulated me for doing a good job.
When it was over, the people threw candy at me and all missed. I'm blowing out the candles at my Bar Mitzvah party.
On the plane to Israel, a rabbi wrapped tefillin on me.
In Jerusalem, overlooking the "Wailing" Wall.
The soldier in this bunker let me in to look out at the Mediterranean.  This was in Rosh Hanikra at the northern border with Lebanon.
I'm trying to body surf in the Mediterranean.  There were a lot of jellyfish but I wasn't stung.
After floating in the Dead Sea, I covered myself with mud.  It felt funny, but good.*
(Dead Sea mud is filled with minerals and proven to be good for the skin and body.)
In the Negev (desert), I'm driving an off road vehicle.  It was bumpy, exciting and fun.  The weather was hot, dry and windy.  It was my first time driving, except for go-karts. The tour guide drove over a jump thingy.  He made me hold on to the handle when we were flying thru the air.  It was a bumpy landing.
I'm in the Sinai being led by a guide.  When the camel stood up with me on it, it felt unstable, high and fun.  The ride was bumpy.
Our Bedouin guides are making a tent and getting firewood to make tea for us in the Sinai.  I'm drinking water and wearing a pillowcase under my hat to keep from dehydrating. Me, a camel and the Sinai mountains.  Camels are stubborn, funny, dumb, smile, spit and have 2 pairs of knees on their hind legs.
Walking with our Bedouin guide in the Sinai.  I saw rocks and old oil cans.
In a store in Jerusalem, the shopkeeper put a traditional Arab headdress on me.  We bought one for a friend back home.  The store guys would say, "Please come in to my shop, I give you very good price!" and "You're my 2nd customer today."  They were nice.
I'm in the old city and tired of walking.  I just want to go back to the hotel and watch TV.  There were lots of shops but not many tourists, so business was bad.

A mural in Jerusalem showing how it used to be. 
We were in an air conditioned museum in Tel Aviv, which was great because it felt like 110 degrees outside.  I was extremely tired from jet lag and very thirsty.
I was in the holocaust museum (Yad Vashem) in Jerusalem.  In the case behind me are actual yellow stars that Jews had to wear in the ghettoes of Europe. On the beach in Caesarea, I was digging because I like to dig and build things.  In the background are ancient Roman ruins. I'm skimming rocks in the Mediterranean north of Tel Aviv at sunset.  I like to watch them bounce off the water. I'm in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre looking at a mosaic.  The slab behind me is supposedly where Jesus lay and people pray there.
In a small chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a monk/priest is meditating while I look around. In a video arcade in the Arab Quarter of the old city of Jerusalem.  I was racing a guy.  It was loud and cheap to play.
I'm in a turkey house at Kibbutz Nachshon.  They stunk!!
Overlooking "The Wall" in Jerusalem.  This was a good spot to see all the people and the entire wall.
At "The Wall", I'm looking in the cracks to try and read the notes.*
(*Believers leave notes or prayers in the cracks with messages to God.)
The Wall (behind me) was much larger than I thought it would be.
I'm planting a tree, in what seems like, the middle of nowhere. At my Bar Mitzvah ceremony, one of the things I said I'd do was donate money in order to plant a tree in Israel.  It's better to do it yourself.
After a movie, I took a nap on the plane going home.  I was tired.
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