September 2020 -- Elul 5780-Tishri 5781,  Volume 26, Issue 9

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Shofars Resound from Beth El Synagogue Center Parking Lot

By Stephen E. Lipken


Beginning on Sunday, August 23rd at 10:00 a.m., Elul 3, the Beth El Synagogue Center, New Rochelle (BESCNR) parking lot resounded with Shofar blowing from participants’ cars.


Shofars are blown in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah, at the end of Yom Kippur and weekday mornings in the month of Elul running up to Rosh Hashanah.


According BESCNR Assistant Rabbi Zachary Sitkin,  the idea for the activity originated from Beth El’s collective staff, inviting all motorists that the parking lot can hold, “primarily for the Beth El community, through Facebook, Instagram, e-mail and bulletins, etc


“Masks are required while on Beth El property or building, when not in your own car.

 “It is customary to sound the Shofar through the month of Elul in order to awaken us spiritually to the experience of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year coming.  It serves as a wake-up to teshuva, to return to G-d.”


The Shofar is mentioned frequently in the Hebrew Bible, Talmud and rabbinic literature.  In Exodus 19, the blast of a Shofar emanates from a thick cloud on Mount Sinai, making the Israelites tremble in awe. It was used to announce the new moon, Jubilee Year and signified the start of war. They were employed in processionals as musical accompaniment and were inserted into the Temple orchestra by King David.


Shofars may be made from the horn of any animal of the Bovidae family except a cow. Ashkenazi and Sephardi Shofars are made from horns of domestic rams, while Yemini Shofars are made from the horn of a kudu (African antelope).


Bovidae horns are made of a layer of keratin around a core of bone, with a layer of cartilage in between which can be removed, leaving a hollow keratin horn.