from the book
Almost four years ago, the Garelik family invited me for Shabbat dinner at their home in Crown Heights, a Lubavitch Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. I had just sat down at the table when Rabbi Yossi’s wife, Chani Garelik, took me aside and uttered a sentence straight from the Torah: “col cvuda bat melech pnima.” Translated, it means, “the pride of a Daughter of the King resides in the most secret depths of her soul.” She said that if I really wanted my photographs to speak about religious women, I first needed to understand this concept on my own.
“Daughters of the King” began in that moment, although I was not able to take any photos that night. Chani Garelik became my mentor, my so-called muse. Interestingly, she never permitted me to photograph her. Rather, I kept going back to her house to seek advice on how to approach my subjects; specifically, how to behave among religious, Jewish women. Little by little, I became part of the lives of these women whom I randomly met on the streets of Brooklyn. After a while, they began inviting me to their weddings and dinners. Even now, they recognize me when I walk into their neighborhood to go shopping, as if I have become part of their world, as if—at least for a moment—I am one of them.