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I Belong Series: Meet Dani, Manager of Talent Acquisition Operations

Dani, Manager of Talent Acquisition Operations, has spent 5 years with PetSmart and shares insight on celebrating Rosh Hashanah.


The Belonging Program’s “I Belong” Series harnesses the power of empathy through storytelling. This series is intended to give associates a greater sense of understanding, a bridge to gain new perspective, and a way to build connection to each other. To learn more about the “I Belong” Series or to submit your stories, please visit our new Belonging Fetch Page.


Meet Dani: Manager of Talent Acquisition Operations

I have some really great news. The evening of September 6, kicks off Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish new year. Friends, welcome to the year 5782! What is Rosh Hashanah? I’m so glad you asked!


Fun facts about Rosh Hashanah

  • Rosh Hashanah celebrates the day that G-d created Adam and Eve and is considered the day of the new year.

  • The Hebrew calendar is lunar and follows the moon instead of the modern calendar of the sun. This is why all Jewish holidays begin at sundown.

  • It is one of two of the most religious days of the year, often referred to as the High Holidays. Rosh Hashanah is followed by the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur.

  • Along with the Jewish dinner staples of brisket and kugel, apples and honey are eaten to celebrate a sweet new year!

  • The Shofar is one of the most symbolic items of Rosh Hashanah. A shofar is a ram’s horn that is typically blown by a rabbi, creating a loud sound that calls in the new year.

  • L’Shana Tova Tea-ka-tayvu—Hebrew for “May you be inscribed for a good year”—is the greeting when celebrating with friends and families. This isn’t to be confused with wishing each other a “Happy New Year.” Happy implies a level of superficiality, while the Jewish wish for a good year hopes the person will achieve their purpose.


Why I’m proud to be Jewish

While there are many things I respect and honor about being Jewish, my favorite is how much of our religion values its traditions—traditions that have been passed down for the past 5,700-ish years. Each holiday has specific prayers to be said, stories to read, and PLENTY of food to eat, all passed down from generation to generation. That matzah ball soup I eat every year? It’s in my grandmother’s kitchen, written on a note from her mother. There is something so special about every family observing the same holidays, but in their own ways. Being rooted in that connection and knowing my future children will enjoy the same recipes as the four generations before them … it is so special.


How I feel included at PetSmart

The Phoenix Home Office has a long-standing tradition of each floor competing in a Christmas Tree decorating contest. It’s creative and elaborate, and even I, as someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas, thoroughly enjoy it! This year, our floor captain came over to me and asked how we can also decorate for Hanukkah and I was SO EXCITED. Not only for the decorating, but just the thought that went in to asking the question, how can we celebrate Hanukah with you. I got a menorah and some Jewish décor, fondly picked out by my sweet Jewish mama (if you know, you know 😊), and I took pride in adding a light for each of the eight nights. I was happy to answer questions and put up information to celebrate something that was special to me.


How to have a conversation about inclusion

So much of inclusion is not being afraid to ask questions. We are all trusted partners, not just to pets and pet parents, but to each other. Asking the questions of “how can I celebrate with you” or “how can honor your heritage” is always a great way to begin the conversation.

L’shanah Tova, and may your family have a healthy and good new year.

Dani Laven


To learn more about Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish religion, visit


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