We stumbled upon Ruchy Lebovits’s Instagram account – @ruchyl_photography – by happy accident. After scrolling through her page, we knew we had to talk with her and introduce our followers to her and her platform.
What is unique about her photography portfolio? There are many family photographers in the world, but Ruchy has carved out a special niche of family photography: one that expresses Chasidic joy.
Upon making aliyah from Monsey about nine years ago, Ruchy was awe-struck by the diversity and beauty of Jewishness in Israel – particularly in the Chasidic community. As an artist with a camera, Ruchy’s portfolio is full of family portraits of Chasidic Jews: each subject is smiling, joy radiating from their faces.
Unfortunately, this is an unusual perspective in the world. Most pictures of Chasidim that are publicized are shot by non-Jews or non-observant Jews who see Chasidic Jews through a colonial lens – that they are poor, backwards people who need fixing. There is rarely a smile to be found with Chasidim on TV and movies. “It’s always cringe-worthy to see how negatively the photographers portray Chasidim,” Ruchy says. “There’s so much love and acceptance and beauty out there. It’s insulting and antisemitic in what they portray Chasidim to be.”
Ruchy seeks to change those perceptions through her artwork, with Instagram as her platform for showcasing Chasidic families and the happiness that permeates their lives.
If a Chasid can be defined as having a strong connection to the essence of Judaism rather than the external, these photos prove the beauty of this idea over and over again. The soul shines through in these photos – whether the subject or subjects are children or adults – and we can see the appreciation for that in Ruchy’s eyes and camera.
Each photo is even more than they appear. Ruchy says that she can describe each family uniquely, and that there are anecdotes that permeate each shoot to the final product. Below, enjoy a small sample of Ruchy’s portfolio, and feel comforted and proud, as we do, to be part of the same Jewish mishpacha.