SARASOTA- A day both meaningful and lighthearted, Temple Emanu-El celebrated their “Pet Shabbat/Blessing of the Animals.”

This is the original Jewish pet blessing in Sarasota-Manatee, and one of Temple Emanu-El’s signature events.

The “Pet Shabbat/Blessing of the Animals” event has blessed hundreds of furry friends over the past 15 years.

“While we take care of them, really, they take care of us. And this is a chance for us as a Temple to recognize how important they are and how precious these animals are in our lives,” said Rabbi Brenner Glickman of Temple Emanu-El.

After Rabbis spoke about the importance of animals in Jewish tradition, there were individual pet blessings and family pet portraits.

“Dogs are a wonderful part of life and I just think they really make your life whole. They read your emotions so well and I was very happy to have Rabbi Glickman bless them,” said attendee from Manatee, Sara Weinberg.

Animals got to see a veterinarian who let them know they’ve been good and attendees received a certificate after their pet was blessed.

For Jeannine Germer, the blessing of the animals is one event she never misses.

“We have been members of the temple for many many years and we participated in the very first blessing of the pets with Rabbi Glickman and we’ve participated in almost, I believe every single one, even the online one the year of Covid,” said Germer.

More people attended the event this year than ever before.

“We announced that we’re starting a half an hour early for anyone who wants to come early. And even before we got here, we already had a dozen dogs waiting,” said Rabbi Glickman.

All animals are welcome to the event.

One year someone even brought a camel and a donkey.

Treats and accessories were available to each animal that got blessed.