MARLBORO – Temple Rodeph Torah (TRT) on Mohawk Drive will be going to the dogs – and the cats, gerbils, guinea pigs, snakes, fish and other assorted critters – at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 29, when it hosts its first community-wide blessing of the animals.
The outdoor event, which is free and open to the public, will be held on the temple’s front lawn. The rain date is Saturday, April 5.
“Many people in our community have pets that are an integral part of their family,” said TRT’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Don Weber. “It only seems fitting that we embrace and bless these wonderful animals that bring so much joy and happiness into their and our lives. TRT is excited to offer this innovative service that is certain to be an intimate and spiritual experience for all of the pets and their pet parents and families.”
The blessing of the animals service will focus on compassionate teachings about animals and about the beautiful bond that exists between animals and humans. TRT joins several other houses of worship in at least 10 states nationwide that have held blessing of the animals ceremonies. Although dogs and cats will likely be the most common attendees, TRT clergy also will recite blessings for all animals in attendance, including cuddly “stuffed animal” friends that the younger children are encouraged to bring.
TRT’s “Blessing of the Animals” is the latest in TRT’s continued commitment toward providing alternative programmatic experiences that appeal to people of all ages, which started with its widely-acclaimed Rock Shabbat service two years ago and was followed by its cutting-edge Visual T’filah program last year. In September, TRT held its first Rock Hashanah High Holiday musical service and also rolled out its inaugural “Sinful Texting” service on Yom Kippur where congregants used their smartphones to anonymously comment on various spiritual and Judaic issues.
The community is encouraged to bring pets to this short service, which should last approximately 30 minutes. Following the service there will be free treats for the animals and the humans who love them. TRT’s new fire-pit will also be stoked up so that everyone can roast marshmallows and eat s’mores following the service.
Additional information is available by visiting animals.trt.org, or calling 732-308-0055.