Sounding the shofar

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Julia Rosengarten, 9, and her brother Jacob, 7, of Egg Harbor Township try sounding the shofars they just made at the shofar workshop held by Chabad at the Shore at the Katz JCC Sunday morning. They quickly learned it’s not an easy task.Suzanne Marino MARGATE – On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, Rabbi Avrom Rappoport of Chabad at the Shore gave a lesson to more than two dozen children and their parents at the shofar workshop held at the Katz JCC.

They gathered Sunday, Sept. 16 to take part in a custom that comes from the Torah - making shofars to sound on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The shofar is made from an animal’s horn and while they looked at the horns of many animals as well as antlers, the children learned they could only come from a kosher animal. While pigs and elephants are not kosher and a cow and a bull are; neither is able to be used for a shofar. As Rappoport explained, “When Moishe was on the mountain in the desert and went to speak to God, he came down and his people were worshipping a calf. So while a cow is kosher we can never use its horn.”

The horn must have soft cartilage inside. The soft cartilage is removed once the end of the horn is sawed off. And hollowed out, and the jagged edge is sanded down until it is smooth and then the shofar is able to be sounded.

“The shofar is a cry, an awakening that the holidays are coming. It reminds us that it is a New Year and we have a chance to begin again and to be better people,” Rappoport said. “It is also a reminder to bring our families together. The long blast at the end of the services is to remind us of the confidence that God will give us a good year ahead.”

A ram’s horn is the favored one to use to make a shofar because of Abraham and his sacrifice to God, according to the Rabbi.

The children picked from a table filled with animal horns of all sizes and shapes with plenty of twists to make their own shofars. And with the help of parents and Meir Rappoport, who manned the drills and saws, the children continued a custom that is part of tradition of the holiest days of the year in the Jewish faith.

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