Late, on a long summer day in 2015, with Rabbi J David Bleich

August 25th, 2015 7:00pm, Residence of Rabbi J David Bleich, portrait assignment for Ami Magazine. Rabbi Bleich is an authority on Jewish law and ethics, with specialty in Jewish medical ethics.  He is professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and head of its postgraduate institute for the study of Talmudic Jurisprudence and family law. He also teaches at the Cardozo Law School.

I finished a shoot for Target Dept. Stores at 5:00pm and drove from Tribeca to the upper east-side in the east 70s. Got a miracle parking spot just below the Rabbi's building, and enough spare time to catch up on some correspondence. Scouted the lobby/elevator situation because I travel heavy. And, waited for my appointment to come.

6:40pm I made the schlep with my gear up to the Rabbi's apartment and was greeted at the door by Rebbetzin Judith Bleich, the Rabbi's wife, and also a scholar of renown, specifically professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in Manhattan.

I made my way into their apartment with my gear. Mrs. Bleich brought me a glass of water which I readily accepted. I decided to set up the portrait in the Rabbi's library/study. The room was 9ft wide, 15 ft deep. 8ft ceiling. Every inch of wall, and much of the floor space was lined with books, many rare, many so well worn that the binding was evidently on its third or fourth repair. The top most shelves were still taped up from Passover. Mrs. Bleich offered conversation while we waited for The Rabbi to get home from teaching and fielding questions, he was running late. Mrs. Bleich was born in Austria at the outbreak of WWII. She and her parents escaped to Toronto where she was raised. She asked me about my background, which is for another blog post.

7:30 Rabbi Bleich walked in, a bit on the tired side, although his smile and demeanor belied the fact. With no time wasted we started to take pictures, as I thankfully had enough time for set up. The Rabbi was happy to oblige the photo session, Mrs. Bleich watched the computer as the images came in, giving helpful commentary, even live editing. The impression that I took from the entire scenario was the calm and beautiful respect that the Rabbi and Rebbetzin showed for each other from the moment he walked in, until the moment I'd finished packing my gear to leave. An apparent lifetime of teamwork.