Bark mitzvoth becoming an industry

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Only in America… The first such event was held by the Mayor of Beverly Hills in 1958. Now, pet barmies and batties have become big business in the US
by ANT KATZ | Jan 24, 2016

One for the books

Wikipedia defines a bark mitzvah as “an observance and celebration of a dog's coming of age, as in the Jewish traditional barmitzvah and batmitzvah.

“The bark mitzvah is a celebration not necessarily held in conjunction with a specific age, but can occur when the dog turns 13 months or 13 years of age. During some bark mitzvahs, dogs wear a tallit, a ritual prayer shawl worn during Jewish religious services and ceremonies. A male dog wears a specific yarmulke, a thin skullcap.”

bark-mitzvahNo kidding - if you don’t believe how much of an industry this has become in the US, simply Google it. It is remarkable.

Beverly Hills, the plush suburb in Los Angeles, has claimed the title of “Home of the Bark Mitzvah” after the first recorded event took place there almost 60 years ago, in 1958.

RIGHT: Having a bark mitzvah is nothing unusual in the US - albeit not on a bimah

The celebration was for “Windy”, Max and Janet Salter’s dog. Max was a former Mayor and long-serving City Councilman of Beverly Hills, a businessman and a noted philanthropist.

Since Windy was a black cocker spaniel (whose full name was Duke of Windsor), the Salters threw him a “Cockertail” party, which Janet Salter referred to as a “bark mitzvah” on the invitation, thereby coining the term, according to The event was attended by over 100 guests, who brought the guest of honour gifts, including dog biscuits and fountain pens.

Windy was only the first

Windy was the first of the Salters’ dogs to have their passage into adulthood marked by assuming tallis and kippa – each of the family’s dogs had a bark mitzvah when they reached the formidable age of 13 years.

bark-mitzvah4However, many bark mitzvahs are marked at 13 months. They often take place in family homes, but not always.

LEFT: Typical bark mitvah attire 

Mass event

In 2014, more than 30 dogs and their families took part in a mass bark mitzvah service held on the back lawn of a Raleigh, North Carolina shul. The event lasted approximately half an hour and, by all accounts, the fluffy creatures were very well behaved.

The oldest public pictures of a bark mitzvah are of a July 10, 1977 event that took place in West Orange New Jersey. Marvin and Thebe Drazin held a bark mitzvah for their dog Schnoppsie-Lewis Drazin in their backyard.

The pictures of the ceremony are posted online in a Google+ album.

bark-mitzvah2The honour of holding the first widely recorded bark mitzvah, in 1997, received scrutiny and disapproval from several rabbis.

RIGHT: Canine kippot anyone?

One rabbi expressed his distaste for bark mitzvah in a letter to the editor of The New York Times, describing the celebration as "nothing less than a desecration of a cherished Jewish tradition" and claiming that bark mitzvahs "degrade some of the central principles of Jewish life".

Despite the idea being frowned upon by many, the idea spread throughout the United States and the celebrations have continued to occur. The ceremonies became increasingly popular on the East and West Coasts in the early 2000s.

As a result, specialty pet stores and dog bakeries now offer special bark mitzvah party packages, party favours, and gifts.

The following list of '13 Reasons You Need To Throw Your Pup A Bark Mitzvah' is published verbatim from

13 Reasons You Need To Throw Your Pup A Bark Mitzvah
1. Ain’t no party like a puppy partaaaay! The only thing better than one pup is a whole pack!


2. Hollywood is totally down with this canine craze. Check out actor Jason Biggs celebrating with his sweet pup, Teets!


3. Who doesn’t want another chance to spoil their favourite pooch! They even make bark mitzvah gift baskets for the pup of pawnor.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 2.22.02 PM

4. The Bark Mitzvah is a tradition that dates back to at least the 1970s when Marvin and Thebe Drazin held a bark mitzvah for their dog, Schnoppsie-Lewis Drazin.


5. Um, colour-coordinated outfits. Need we say more?


6. CAKE!


7. Throw pups into the mix – BAM no awkward small talk at this party…

Bark Mitzvah fun8. Majestic photo opportunities like this:

barkmitzvahswag9. And this… courtesy of the OG of the bark mitzvah, Schnoppsie-Lewis Drazin.

barkmitzvahog10. It’s a chance to break out the fancy stemware. Just puppeh wine (aka water), though. Ok?


11. Such decorations. Very party favours.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 1.49.47 PM12. Seriously, though. That cake. ‘Scuse the doggy drool.


13. It’s a fun way to spend a day with the pups and hoomans that ya ruv!


And, finally...

bark-mitzvah FULL

If all of that wasn't enough to put users off the idea for a long time, remember you can't forget the Barmie/Battie cake for pets and friends


  1. 2 bernard 29 Jan
    A Batterer Gelechter a Chill Hashem
  2. 1 Emese Oseni 23 Feb
    Absolutely adorable.


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