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Culture

Sound Of Shofar Brings In Jewish New Year

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Peter Haden
/
WLRN
Rabbi Zalman Levitin of Chabad House blows a shofar at The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach on Sept. 29, 2016.

Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – began the evening of Oct. 2. And for the more than half a million Jews living in South Florida, the holiday is brought in with a familiar sound: the shofar.

 

The shofar is an ancient musical instrument made from a hollowed-out ram's horn. The rabbi blows it at the end of the Rosh Hashanah service, after Yom Kippur and at other times during the High Holidays.

Rabbi Zalman Levitin of Chabad House in Palm Beach says the ritual acts as a kind of alarm clock. “To wake you up from your spiritual sleep. When something happens in your life different than routine - that’s when you stop short and you say, ‘Wait a minute – am I living the life I should be living?' " 

Rabbi Levitin says the ritual also serves as an affirmation.

“When they blow the shofar in synagogue, what they’re telling God is, ‘We are accepting that relationship that you want to have with us.’ And thereby God accepts and unites with the Jewish people.”

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Rabbi Zalman Levitin on how to wish Jews a great New Year (in Hebrew).

Lisa Fogelson of Boynton Beach says shofar blowing is the central part of the Rosh Hashanah service.

“It’s what sticks with you,” she said. “It’s what everyone remembers about their High Holiday experience as a child.”