How could he be so cruel? This is what my Bat Mitzvah Student said to me recently when we met to talk about her studying her Torah portion with me and learning about Judaism in preparation for a bat mitzvah ceremony. She said she was referring to an incident that occurred on a very hot 97°F day in the parking lot of a Walmart. she was with her father. They just parked their car and they were walking to the entrance of the Walmart when she heard this whimpering sound coming from one of the cars.
It was a cute little Chihuahua that was left alone in the sweltering heat by the owner, who abandoned their dog with only a tiny little crack open in the window. How cruel and disgusting my bat mitzvah student thought along with her father. Both of them ran to the Walmart and found the closest manager that they could find and they told him the situation. They even had taken down the license plate number , and so they told the manager to go on the loudspeaker and announce that the owner of the car with a license plate XYZ should immediately return to their car and put on the air conditioning or take the dog out of the car so she won’t die from heat stroke. Sure enough the manager got on the loudspeaker made the announcement, and a man very sheepishly and embarrassedly walked quickly to the car to save his dog. My student told me that she wanted to smack him in the face because she is so kind to animals and can’t understand how someone could be so cruel to their pet.
Her father advised against violence of course, and they felt very good about themselves that they saved a dogs life that day. My student felt inspired to work or volunteer at an animal shelter as part of her bat mitzvah year, because at CoolCantor, she learned with me that becoming a bat mitzvah is not just about learning to sing a Torah portion in front of people, it’s about living, intentionally a life of good deeds and spreading kindness into the world, one small, but important kind action at a time.
My bat mitzvah girl’s hope is that when she reads her speech at her ceremony and tells everybody about this incident that it will light the fire under people to be kind to animals and be on the lookout for animal cruelty, and do something about it when it presents itself.