For those of you who have never heard of a Bark Mitzvah for dogs, word on the street is that it's not the latest trend, but a quite a long-existing tradition to celebrate the coming of age of a dog.
Yes, it's exactly what you expect it to be: a Bar or Bat Mitzvah except to celebrate the coming of age of a dog instead of a 13-year-old boys and 12-year-old girls. Owners typically celebrate when dogs reach age two, or 13-years-old in dog years.
According to the tradition for canine owners who promote dog parties, dogs celebrating a Bark Mitzvah typically wear yarmulkes tailored to fit over the ears or prayer shawls and are sometimes held outside of synagogues or at home with a rabbi or cantor present.
Back in 1997, The New York Times reported about the first ever known Bark Mitzvah, which received some words of criticism from a rabbi in a letter addressed to the Editor.
This is nothing less than a desecration of a cherished Jewish tradition and degrades some of the central principles of Jewish life. I urge readers to reject such practices, wrote Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff. I enjoy a good time as much as the next person. But not at the expense of religious traditions that need strengthening, not desecrating.
However, the trend has gained steam again after The Associated Press released new footage of a New Jersey dog named Nicky, photographed wearing a kippah for a ceremony attended by his owner and friends.
I perform Bark Mitzvahs because it's a blessing for the animals, said Lee Day, who performed the Bark Mitzvah for Nicky in New Jersey. I really believe that the animals have a right to have a party and a religion.
According to The Associated Press, the craze performed by members of the American Jewish community including the exchange of cards and invitations for the event, is a multi-million dollar business.
In fact, one California Reform shul offered blessings, treats and a special pet kippah/yarmulke to all pets who participate in Bark Mitzvahs.
In 2007, Elvis the dog celebrated a Bark Mitzvah thanks to his owner, David Best, which became the social event of the season in New York City, with live music and notable figures within the pharmaceutical industry present and videos captured on YouTube.