When a Jewish Dog Becomes an Older Jewish Dog

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My corgi Daisy recently turned 12. To mark this momentous occasion and celebrate all the wonderful years I’ve had with her (so far!) I decided to throw her a “Bark Mitzvah.” It seemed fitting, considering Jewish culture has been as much a part of her life as it has been mine. The first trick she learned was “dreidel,” where she spins around in a circle, and as the youngest “furbaby” in our family, she searches for the afikomen at Passover (having a canine sense of smell certainly helps).

So what exactly does a Bark Mitzvah entail? Will she be barking the arftarah? Will we be dancing to hava corgilah? And more importantly, will there be pupcakes? I consulted Rabbi Joey Felsen of the Jewish Study Network for advice. While Rabbi Felsen he had never heard of the custom, he did suggest a special grooming, festive meal (seudah) and blessings (brachot).

Smelling fresh as a daisy after a bath, tooth cleaning and pawdicure, Daisy greeted guests at the door. Family and friends trickled in and after a bit of kibitzing in the foyer, everyone gathered outside.

My husband started out the blessings with one that seemed to be fairly custom at other Bark Mitzvahs. It is a Jewish blessing said when one encounters beauty in nature:

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We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, that such as these are in Your world.

Other guests followed with their sentiments, “May you live a long and healthy life,” “May your teeth always be strong,” and a quote from a Jewish proverb, “Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.”

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After the blessings, guests shouted “muzzle tov” and threw treats at her. We rejoiced with “beagles” and lox, a family-kept secret egg dish called “spot” and pupcakes (for humans as well as doggies). The reception included some of Daisy’s favorite things: friends and family, fetch and gifts. We gave her a bark mitzvah fountain pen that squeaks, and a yarmulke and tallit (which stayed on just long enough for photos).

If you are considering throwing a Bark Mitzvah or Meow Mitzvah, check out our Pinterest board for more inspiration.

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Kyla Reznik

Written by Kyla Reznik

Kyla Reznik is the designer/developer of Live Fully Blog and Senior Graphic Designer at the Oshman Family JCC. She enjoys photography, gardening, corgi conventions and traveling. On weekends, you'll find her flying around the Bay Area with her husband in one of their private planes. Watch out below!

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