Jews will make their own Ram Horns to prepare for the High Holidays

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Sunday, September 9, 2012 in Lynnwood, adults, and children of all ages will get the unique opportunity to participate in a hands-on workshop, crafting their own Shofars, or ram's horn, for the upcoming holiday of Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish New Year.

The Shofar is perhaps the oldest wind instrument known to mankind. Consisting of a simple horn taken from a ram or similar animal (such as a kudu) and hollowed of its internal cartilage, the instrument produces a haunting, almost mystical tone. 

"The Shofar generates an otherworldly sound. It's very soulful, very stirring, and open to much interpretation," said Rabbi Berel Paltiel, director of Chabad Jewish Center and sponsor of the Shofar Factory. "Each individual hears something else in the Shofar's voice. Thus it’s most fitting and quite uplifting for the Shofar to be blown during the High Holidays, the holiest Jewish season of the year."

According to Jewish history, the sound of a Shofar accompanied G-d's giving of the Torah (the Bible) to the ancient Hebrews, the ancestors of Jews today, as they stood at the foot of Mount Sinai in the Middle Eastern wilderness. In addition, Jewish tradition has it that the Messianic Era, a time of world peace, will be ushered in with the sounding of the great Shofar.

The Shofar is sounded in Jewish houses of worship on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and at the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, for several reasons, not least among them its unique sound. 

"Chassidism teaches that the call of the Shofar is reminiscent of the pure voice of the soul," explained Rabbi Paltiel. "At Rosh Hashanah, the soul strives to touch the Divine. Also the various notes sounded with the Shofar remind one of weeping, which stirs people to better their ways, which is among the central themes of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur."

Visitors to the Shofar Factory will learn just what criteria an animal's horn must meet in order to qualify as a genuine Shofar, after which they will saw, drill, sand, shellac and polish their very own horns and then learn how to sound the traditional notes. 

The Shofar Factory is open to the general public on Sunday, September 9, at 11am at the Chabad Jewish Center of Snohomish County, 19626 76th Avenue West Suite B, Lynnwood, WA 98036-5877. Admission is free. For $10 participants take home their own Shofar. For more information, contact Rabbi Berel Paltiel of Jewish Snohomish, 425-640-2811.


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