Thursday, September 13, 2012

Revisiting Lauren in New Franklin, Mo.

 I am back in New Franklin, Mo. photographing Lauren Burnett after a semester away in Denmark. It's great to be back out with the family again. Here is the start of the project from last fall Back and Forth (all video). I will continue shooting throughout the semester and produce a multimedia piece for My Life, My Town. Yesterday, however, was just about catching up with Lauren and her family. Just after I left in December, Lauren's best friend, (who is engaged to Lauren's brother), found out she was pregnant. When I visited I met her newborn daughter Taylor. The puppies that were born last fall were all grown up, too. It was interesting to see how time had passed, but more or less, it felt like I had never left.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Binah: Women's Role in Judaism

This summer, I extended my photojournalism studies to participate in a photography workshop with Rita Reed, my professor at the University of Missouri, in Munich, Germany. 

I was given a topic and roughly three days to shoot. The man I was assigned to, Gehrard, was a French Jew and Holocaust survivor who escaped France as a child. With the help of his friend's English and my broken French/Hebrew we talked about the Jewish community in Munich. 

Gehrard did not want to be photographed outside of his camera shop, but directed me to the local synagogue, Ohel Jakob, which was just built in 2006. As a Jew visiting Germany, I was curious what the community was like.

I ended up exploring the role that women play in Judaism. Specifically, what does the next generation of Judaism look like in Germany? The topic is very personal to me, and I hope to continue it in Missouri and elsewhere. Below are the beginnings of my exploration and photos from Munich. 


The word Binah means understanding and is one of the most powerful root words in Hebrew. The feminine-rooted word means the ability to reason, to see truth, and have a unique intuition that is said to be greater than mans. 

Women’s role is essential in Judaism and this project explores the life of women in Munich, Germany and their ability to learn and create within Judaism despite the restrictions Jewish law places on their extent of involvement in practice. 

President of Ohel Jakob Synagogue Charlotte Knobloch, lights candles to begin the observance of Shabbat in Munich, Germany. It is considered a “mitzvah” or good deed for women to light the Shabbat candles because they are responsible for bringing light back into the world after dimming the world's light when Eve was tempted by the snake in the Old Testament. 

Sara, Hebrew and Jewish tradition teacher at covers her face while teaching young girls how to light candles at
Sinai all-day primary school. In Judaism it is considered a Mitzvah, a good deed, for women to light candles. The school has predominantly Jewish students, but is open to all religions.

Book bags hang in the hallway of the Alexander Moksel Kindergarten in Munich, Germany. The school is part of the Jewish community of Munich and Upper Bavaria which create an environment to foster a new generation of Jewish education.

JilLea Braun runs upstairs past a framed portrait of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Hasidic leader of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in her home in Munich, Germany. There are multiple pictures of the Rebbe in every room of the house. Chabad-Lubavitch is a Chasidic movement in Orthodox Judaism that persuades Jews and non-Jews to follow the seven universal laws in order to achieve true peace.

A family portrait hangs in the living room of JilLea’s home in Munich, Germany. It reads “To the wedding anniversary by the Rebbe,” and shows the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Moshiach Moses, JilLea, her father and step mother holding hands over a small boy with a heart over his head symbolizing their wish to bring a son into their lives.

Benjamin Braun looks over the shoulder of his daughter JilLea while his wife Marianna tidies the house. JilLea attends the Sinai-all-day primary school in Munich, a state approved elementary school, which teaches Hebrew and Jewish religious education.

JilLea peers out her window at her home in Munich, Germany. She said it’s her favorite part of her room because she likes to watch her dog play in the yard. Their dog is forbidden inside the house for religious reasons.

Rabbi Arie Folger wraps tefillin and prays on the opposite side of the chain link that separates men and women during worship. Each sect of Judaism has different rules and customs regarding interpretation of Jewish law.

A woman reads psalms in the back store room of Danel Feinkost Kosher Food. The shop is the only all kosher foods store in Munich, Germany.

Seven young girls line up to have their photograph taken in front of the synagogue before their Bat Mitzvah celebration in Munich, Germany. For boys, who have a Bar Mitzvah, the coming of age ceremony entails reading from the torah. In this particular celebration the young women had a party but no formal religious service or torah reading.

A woman peers into the window of the Einstein Jewish Center where people are setting up for the bat mitzvah celebration in Munich, Germany.

Challah, lox and deviled eggs are neatly laid out on a pink tablecloth in honor of the Bat Mitzvah celebration at the Einstein Jewish center in Munich, Germany.

Four 11-year-old Jewish girls whisper to each other during the dinner portion of the Bat Mitzvah celebration in Munich, Germany. The girls said they plan to have their own Bat Mitzvah in two years when they are of age.

A woman holds large pink candles to give to the girls participating in the Bat Mitzvah celebration. The girls lit candles on each table as a non-religious but ceremonial gesture.

Alisa Levinson, 13, holds a pink candle given to her as part of the Bat Mitzvah celebration at the Einstein Jewish Center in Munich, Germany. The event was hosted by the temple Chabad and required the young women to attend religious programming three to four times in order to participate in the program. Levinson is a first generation German says her parents were not particularly religious in Russia where they lived until the moved to Germany and raised Alisa.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Epic Mud Run

Went out to Midway to shoot the Epic Mud run. I ended up getting an err 30 on my camera so I shot the whole time on a 70-200 (with a cropped sensor) and an 85 for a bit at the end. It was definitely an exercise on shooting tighter but it was fun to play with. The best part was getting covered head to toe and sliding down a ten story slip n' slide into a pit of mud.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Football Season is here MIZ v SE Louisiana

Football season has begun! I will be shooting Mizzou football home games this fall for the Jefferson City News Tribune. We got rained on a little the first game but Mizzou dominated with a final score of 62-10 against Southeastern Louisiana.