SOMERS, N.Y. - For many Somers pet lovers, dogs are not just their furry friends but also their family members.
Dozens of Somers dogs officially joined their families last Sunday at Hebrew Congregation of Somers annual "Bark Mitzvah." Rabbi Fred Schwalb held the third annual ceremony celebrating and blessing the pets in the congregation whose dogs have become an important part of their owners' lives.
"I think we have a lot of animal lovers in our congregation," said Diane Karsch of Hebrew Congregation of Somers. "Our dog Zeke is a member of the family and he does bring so much to our lives and it really felt nice having that acknowledged by the rabbi and having that be blessed."
Rabbi Schwalb said he came up with the idea a few years ago to remind those in the congregation about the importance of family and community.
"People very much look forward to it every year," he said. "It shows you how much people value their pets and I think it's always nice to see that reminder of the value of community and coming together."
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