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Calif. synagogue holding animal blessing

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SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — A Southern California synagogue is having its third annual “blessing of the animals.”

Congregation Dor Hadash in San Diego holds the event in honor of Tu b’Shevat, the 15th day of Shevat, which this year falls on Jan. 20.

Pet owners are invited to bring their pets to the Reconstructionist shul by noon Sunday, Jan. 9, where they will be blessed by Rabbi Yael Ridburg. Furred, winged and swimming creatures are all welcome — from cats to turtles.

Tu b’Shevat is known as the new year of trees, and is one of four “new year” celebrations on the Jewish calendar. Some Jews expand the holiday to include blessings for all living things produced by the earth, including plants and animals.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, last year’s blessing ceremony included the audience responding: “May they never suffer from ick, and may their fins and scales always sparkle in the light of your sunshine.”

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