Two by two, the animals arrived—to play with the big kids.
A rabbi from the Bay Ridge Jewish Center blessed Bay Ridge dogs October 17 outside the center, a rare blessing for animals by a Jewish religious figure.
“If we can show this unconditional love for animals, maybe we can love each other,” Rabbi Dina Rosenberg said.
Seventeen people were present at the blessing, along with six dogs.
Rosenberg organized the blessing with the center to celebrate the religious story of Noah and his ark, which she had been reading from the Torah the past week to the congregation.
“We thought since we read this part of the Torah,” she said, “everyone can bring their pets, and we bless them, and acknowledge their roles in our lives.”
The center extended its invitation to all Ridgeite pets, but only dogs were present.
But the small crowd of people did not complain that they got to play with local canines.
“We want to thank them for being our friends,” Rosenberg said during the blessing, with her dog Peanut Butter in her arms. “We hope they get lots of time to play and lots of bones to bite.”
“Whatever we do as a community brings us together, and bringing our pets brings even more love,” said Mindi Schwartz, a Bay Ridge resident.
“The animals are a part of their families,” Ridgite David Sherrin said. “It’s nice to have a day for them.”
Numerous local churches regularly blesses local pets and other animals.
But Rosenberg said she never heard of a rabbi blessing animals before she did it.
The center says it plans to make the blessing an annual event, with hopes that more furry creatures join them.
“People that didn’t know they live on the same block bring their dogs and get to meet each other,” Romano said. “Once a year won’t kill you.”