Muzzle Tov to Maddie

July 28, 2019 by Elana Bowman
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In a first for Sydney, the importance of giving back was celebrated recently with a ‘Bark Mitzvah’ for Maddie, a corgi dog.

Dr Sam Kovac, Rabbi Mendel Kastel and Maddie

Rabbi Kastel from Jewish House partnered with veterinarian Dr Sam Kovac of Southern Cross Veterinary Hospital and in conjunction with Project Hope to host a ‘Bark Mitzvah’ – highlighting the importance of giving back and celebrating that a Mitzvah or Mitzvot can be done by any being.

“It was a celebration to focus on the fact that Maddie will be doing group therapy. Judaism has a long history with dogs for the comfort they provide.  It is why Project Hope and Jewish House help people with their pets” said Rabbi Kastel.

Maddie frequents nursing homes as well as social services centres as a therapy dog, bringing joy and hope to those in need.

One of the guests

Sam Kovac of Southern Cross Veterinary Hospital provides essential treatment for animals belonging to people taken in at Jewish House.

“Maddie brings back the light into people’s eyes. She is sweet and calm and does very important work” said Kovac.

Their Project Hope partnership promotes the importance of good deeds. Project Hope’s vision is to vaccinate every homeless pet and provide access to veterinary services among this often-forgotten part of the community.

Alexandra Tselios, Founder and CEO of The Big Smoke co-developed the Mend app together with Jewish House, in an effort to bring community and technology together to help the homeless.  She spoke about how important it is to have animals.

“Maddie has been very important and she is a great blessing,” she said.

and another

Rabbi Kastel said that when the Jews left Egypt not even one dog barked (Exodus 11:7).

“Dogs play an important role in Jewish tradition.

“A lot of this comes down to the owner/trainer. We need to recognise Dr Sam’s role with Project Hope and how his work helps the community. Maddie visits Jewish House and provides comfort and helps people to talk. She does an important Mitzvah” he said.

Jewish House is the only pet-friendly crisis centre in NSW. Project Hope also provides a pet ambulance service which caters to homeless cats and dogs around Sydney.


3 Responses to “Muzzle Tov to Maddie”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    As much as I admire and respect rabbi Kastel and I appreciate that it is a mitzvah to use dogs in maintaining the elderly and the incapacitated. At the same time, the idea of a bark mitzvah is off putting.

    A bar or bat mitzvah is an important stage in to life of a young Jew. Equating that mitzvah to bringing a companion animal into a nursing home devalues a celebration marking the passage of a Jew from being a child to undertaking an adult role in the life of his or her community.

    • Michael says:

      I disagree, many families do not have children or cannot have children and animals are fast beign seen as family members. I think showing appreciation for sentient beings is apt and the highest form of love.

  2. Rabbi Chaim Ingram says:

    I can only suppose that Rabbi Kastel is attempting to cheer us up in these sad weeks leading up to Tisha b’Av. Truthfully the tone of this article is far more suited to Purim!

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