Editor’s Note: This article was written and submitted by Andrew Coen.Temple B’nai Torah
in Wantagh held its first annual Blessing of the Animals this past Saturday after learning of the idea from the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church traditionally has the blessing of the animals around the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and synagogues have also started the tradition honoring pets in recent years.
Rabbi Marci N. Bellows, spiritual leader of Temple B'nai Torah, presided over Saturday's ceremony with the assistance of Emily Altman. The ceremony opened with the singing of “Shabbat Shalom” and followed by “This is Very Good.” Rabbi Bellows then read blessings for all animals in attendance, which included cats, dogs, bunnies and guinea pigs from around 75 people.
Following the blessing, a memorial prayer was read for all those animals that have passed away. It was a very emotional moment for all those attended as they remembered their lost pets.
“I’m delighted by our turnout and my heart is bursting with joy,” Rabbi Bellows said.
“I really enjoyed the blessing," said Donna Burke, who brought her service dog Haley to the ceremony. "I hope they do it again next year."
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