RABBIS BORTZ, GLUSMAN BLESS ‘JEWISH’ PETS

Rabbi Analia Bortz was in heaven, or at least as close to it as you can find on earth. She was holding a cuddly little pooch and standing before dozens of dogs, and there were tails wagging in delight as far as she could see.

Lucky shares some quality time with his humans, Lauren Donelson and Jon Wise. PHOTO / Ron Feinberg

Bortz, along with Rabbi Brian Glusman, led a special “Bark ‘N Bracha – Blessing of the Pets” ceremony at Dunwoody’s Brook Run Dog Park on Oct. 21. Hundreds of folks took advantage of the beautiful fall weather to attend the event sponsored by a host of organizations, including the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta.

“As I look around at this group,” Bortz said, “this is the closest thing we’ll be finding to heaven.”

The ceremony, which entailed prayers for pets who were ill and others who had passed on to the great doggie beyond, also included a few responsive readings, some words of Torah and the plea that G-d “bless our pet, who brings so much joy into our lives.”

Leah and Paul Cygielman, their arms filled with pups, were enjoying themselves and were certain they were exactly where they needed to be on this splendid day.

“I want my babies to be blessed,” Leah, a member of Congregation Beth Shalom, said of Cinnabon the toy poodle and his canine brother and sister, Duncan and Lylah. “They are all part of my family.”

Nearby, Stan Shapiro, also a member of Congregation Beth Shalom, was sharing the moment with Ellie, his white labrador.

“He can’t go to shul,” Stan pointed out as Ellie nodded his doggie noggin in agreement. “So I brought him here today to be blessed.”

And then there was Lucky, a chocolate Labrador, and his humans, all thrilled to be part of this special event.

“He’s celebrating his bar mitzvah,” Jon Wise cracked wise. “We’re all kvelling!”

BY RON FEINBERG / WEB EDITOR