Blessing of the animals

At Kol Shofar, Rebecca (left) and Carolyn Preis with their dog.

A goat on its way to being blessed at Dolores Park.

Sha’ar Zahav Rabbi Camille Angel blesses Stanley, held by owner Harriet Rafter. photo/wendy brummer

Members of Beth El and their pets wait their turn. photo/harold zellman

Quinn Klaiman waits with Splash for his blessing at Dolores Park. photo/wendy brummer

Beth El Rabbi Reuben Zellman blesses Inna Habelski’s pet tarantula. photo/harold zellman

Synagogue fliers rarely include the words “please clean up after your pets,” but that was the case last weekend when several Bay Area congregations engaged in a relatively new Jewish ritual, “the blessing of the animals.” People at Beth El in Berkeley, Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco and Kol Shofar in Tiburon brought their dogs, tarantulas, turtles and other pets to be blessed by a rabbi at services timed to the weekly Torah portion of Noach, which tells the story of Noah’s Ark. Aside from a goat tinkling on a rabbi’s tallit at Sha’ar Zahav’s ceremony at Dolores Park, all went smoothly.