Southwest Wake: Opinion

From the editor: A ‘Bark Mitzvah’ at Beth Shalom Synagogue will celebrate man’s best friend

These Vineyard cufflinks from Moon and Lola, with stores in Apex and Raleigh, are part of Oprah Winfrey’s 2014 Favorite Things List.
These Vineyard cufflinks from Moon and Lola, with stores in Apex and Raleigh, are part of Oprah Winfrey’s 2014 Favorite Things List.

In Judaism, a bar or bat mitzvah is a coming-of-age ceremony for 13-year-old boys and girls.

The teens study for years to learn Hebrew, prayers and rituals and the background required to make a bar (for boys) or bat (for girls) mitzvah happen. It’s a big deal, and it’s often accompanied by a party as friends and relatives celebrate the teen becoming an adult in the eyes of the Jewish community.

So, when I learned that Beth Shalom Synagogue on Yates Pond Road was going to have its first “Bark Mitzvah” on Saturday, Nov. 15, naturally I had lots of questions.

A Bark Mitzvah? How’s that going to work? Do dogs need to be 13? Is this a time when a puppy will be seen as a full-fledged dog in the world of canines?

Rabbi Ariel Edery, with a laugh at some of my sillier questions, said the event is simply for people to celebrate their pets, who many see as family members.

“They have real relationships with their pets,” said Edery, who adopted a Dalmatian-Greyhound mix named Jupiter years ago. “They have personalities and companionship. We never have the opportunity to recognize them, to even pause and reflect on that.”

He thought the phrase “Bark Mitzvah” sounded funny when he first heard it. But the novelty of the event might attract some dog-lovers to the congregation, he said.

“That’s one reason we wanted to do it,” he said. “Because most people haven’t heard of such a thing.”

Over the years, he also heard of people wanting to recognize their pets during a Jewish prayer that’s recited to remember those who have died, typically humans. Some wanted to say prayers for their dogs who have died.

“In tradition, we don’t do that,” he said. “But dogs, do we do that? The truth is, most people do.”

Saturday’s event at 9:30 a.m. will bring together those ideas, to give thanks for the important things in life and to perform a mitzvah, or good deed. Participants are encouraged to bring donations of puppy or dog food to be given to Pawfect Match Rescue, a pet adoption agency in Holly Springs that rescues abused and neglected dogs.

There will be some music, prayers for companionship and loyalty and hopefully an opportunity for dog owners to share a little bit about their furry friends.

“We’ll need to see how the dogs behave,” he said.

Dog owners are asked to bring their dogs on leashes. The event is open to non-Jews and those who aren’t members.

And as for my silly questions, no, dogs don’t have to be 13 years old.

“That would be very hard,” Edery said. “In dog years, that would be a year and a half.”

And alas, there won’t be a shindig with a DJ and favors, though dogs will receive a treat.

“If it’s a sunny day, it will be comfortable to come out and make friends with other dogs,” he said.

The synagogue is at 5713 Yates Mill Pond Road. In case of rain, the event will be rescheduled. For information, call 919-858-7777 or go to

Apex jewelry lands on Oprah list

Oprah Winfrey has pretty discriminating tastes.

When she had her talk show, pretty much everything that received her endorsements, from books to Tory Burch shoes, went flying off the shelves.

Moon and Lola, we hope you’re prepared.

Last week, the Apex-based jeweler’s stylish Vineyard Cufflinks landed a coveted spot on Oprah’s annual Favorite Things list. With the retail coup comes a flurry of publicity. A shout-out on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Deals and Steals segment, followed by a plug on were just a few last week. We expect there to be more as fashionistas and style bloggers share their fave finds from the fave things list.

Oprah’s Favorite Things in its entirety, were revealed Tuesday, Nov. 11, in O magazine. And yes, you can bet that plenty of women are circling some of those 72 items and folding page corners to offer some not-so-subtle hints for their own holiday wish lists.

“As a frequent white-shirt wearer, I like anything that jazzes up a button-down,” Winfrey wrote. “And these elegant cuff links, customizable in 32 colors, two fonts, and a gold or silver monogram and bezel, do the trick.”

The cufflinks can be personalized with a variety of colors and monogram styles. Other style cufflinks have different shapes and emblems, including a state outline or a whimsical shape. Mustache anyone? They all sell for $68.

The store is owned by Kelly Shatat, who launched the Moon and Lola the bright and cheery brand in 2003. In addition to the Apex store, where the line is created and assembled, you can find Moon and Lola in downtown Raleigh.

Check out And hurry. Those cufflinks will go fast.