When dog breeder and groomer Micha Katz of Efrat (for transparency, Micha Katz is the author’s son) wanted to show his dogs in competitions around Israel, he felt he was pounding on a brick wall. After attending countless meetings in kennel clubs, he saw that some clubs (like the Poodle Club) were opening up to the idea of Friday competitions, but most dog organizations were satisfied with their turnouts and perhaps did not feel the need to change the day of their shows in order to accommodate the religious community.
Over the past many years, more and more Orthodox Jews have started participating and excelling in a myriad of sports. While they have reached high ranks in their sport, they have often been side-lined when they reach major competitions. They find themselves at a huge disadvantage, because most competitions take place on Shabbat.
Some trainers who acknowledge the excellence of their religious pupils, try to schedule them later in the day on Saturday, so that they can make Havdalah (end the Sabbath) and still participate before the competition is over. They try to reach out to sports organizations for an alternative competition time. When that is not possible, observant sportsmen are forced to choose between their love of and adherence to the laws of the Sabbath and their love of the game.
In an initiative to enable observant dog owners to participate in dog shows and competitions without violating the Sabbath, Micha founded a kennel club in Gush Etzion. Kennel Club Gush Etzion is providing a team of professional trainers and dog handlers to help the region’s dogs get in shape to perform in their first show on Tuesday, August 30.
“Whether you are a dog owner, dog lover or supporter of the participation of Sabbath-observant sportsmen in competition, the Gush Etzion Dog Show is the place to be,” said Gary Schickman, owner of the Scoop Café and Philly Pizza in Efrat, and a sponsor of the event. Gush Etzion’s First Dog and Pet Show will be held at Achuzat HaKlavim in Gush Etzion on Tuesday afternoon, August 30, from 5:30 to 8 PM. Information: 052-691-9989, 02-502-3731.
Gush Etzion’s First Dog Show is sponsored by Gary Schickman, Falafel Tamar and Nissim Mobile.