In Yiddish/Jewish culture we have a word that we sometimes use to describe people that, as with most Yiddish words, is hard to adequately define in English without understanding and defining the feelings that come with it. That word is “mensch.” Formally, the word is defined as “a person of integrity or honor” but that doesn’t quite paint the whole picture. A mensch is not only a nice person and a role model but when you call someone a mensch, the term speaks to who they are in their soul; their character. It’s the kind of person you not only want to be like but you also want to be around. The highest compliment you could give a parent is to say they are raising/have raised a child that is “a real mensch.”
Meet the Berkley family. Those two handsome sons there? TOTAL mensches! Yes, I MIGHT be a bit biased having grown up with this family and those boys but that only means that I know what I’m talkin’ about when I call them that. And I think that these images will support my claim. Because that’s what being “menschy” is about — it’s a way of being that others can feel and understand just by looking at you. It is my hope that I captured that for them and especially for their parents.
And speaking of parents…. it’s also my hope that I’ve captured THEIR pride and love — for their boys, for one another, for being all together and for having the kind of sons that coordinate a family photo session to celebrate and preserve those memories with their parents (See? Mensches.)
What I can’t quite capture since I’m on the other side of the camera, is my own gratitude not only for having the opportunity to take these pictures, but for knowing these people, for having these role models in my life. I probably haven’t told her enough but the beautiful mom in these pictures — she’s been a role model for me for a LONG time. Way before I had boys of my own but especially now and especially because I know we share such a huge love and appreciation for our role of being moms to wonderful boys and for the challenges and celebrations that come with that.
I am deeply honored to have photographed this family photo session in Scottsdale recently. Not only because I love this family, but because I love the idea of family photo sessions with adult children. We are never too old to take photos with our parents/children and family photo sessions shouldn’t be something that is limited to when our children are young.
It is with great joy that I share these photos here — Because we all need more “mensch” in our lives! xo, Rachel