The latest development in dubious “religious” trends: the rise of bar mitzvahs for dogs.
While not exactly mainstream, the ceremonies, known as “bark mitzvahs,” are apparently now a rite of passage for some Jewish dog owners and their pets, part of what the Associated Press describes as a “booming multimillion-dollar industry.”
The AP yesterday released footage of a ceremony honoring a New Jersey canine named Nicky, who celebrated reaching age 13 - in dog years - by donning a kippah for a ceremony attended by his owner and friends. “I really believe that the animals have a right to have a party and a religion,” said Lee Day, a talis-wearing woman described by the news service as a “bark mitzvah performer.”“This is nothing less than a desecration of a cherished Jewish tradition and degrades some of the central principles of Jewish life. I urge readers to reject such practices,” wrote Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff. “I enjoy a good time as much as the next person. But not at the expense of religious traditions that need strengthening, not desecrating.”
Predictably, not everyone is thrilled with the trend. “It’s really part of a sacred tradition,” said Rabbi Daniel Satlow, referring to the human version of the ceremony. “To imagine that a dog could do anything like this is degrading.”