A workshop on “The Still Small Voice of Shofar” is being offered at the Aleph Kallah to be held 2013-July-1 to 7 at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, NH. Eight hours of shofar-related instruction is included, as well as a performance by a shofar choir.
As described in the Kallah brochure, “Shofar echoes throughout time — from the breath of Creation to trumpeting the final redemption. Holy texts describe our ancestors using shofarot to communicate with God, warriors and laborers, to hold oil for anointing and wine for drinking, and to mark fasts and seasons of joy. Calling in both masculine and feminine voices, shofar unifies the Four Worlds. We will reclaim shofar as a technology for prayer, meditation, tikkun olam, music, and ritual. In time for Elul and High Holy Days, you will craft shofarot and learn to sound them, deepen your hearing, and prepare to serve the community as master blasters.”
The class will be lead by Michael Chusid. He has taught shofar at American Jewish University, Hebrew Union College, Limmud, Cactus Kallah, and many synagogues and havurot. Reb Zalman calls Michael Chusid “the mouthpiece of the shofar.” He is author of Hearing Shofar: The Still Small Voice of the Ram’s Horn and blogs at www.HearingShofar.com
Aleph is the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Kallah is an international gathering that aspires to illumine and explore an aspect of our relationship to what is holy. More information is at www.aleph.org/kallah.htm.
Malcolm Miller is making plans for a shofar event in London during Elul. He brings a wealth of shofar wisdom to Shofar Corps as a professional musicologist. He is the author of several papers on shofar and has composed and presented several musical compositions that feature shofar. He has also organized shofar events for the Jewish Museum in London.
What does a shofarist do the rest of the year, after sounding shofar throughout Elul and the Days of Awe? Here is what some Shofar Corp members have been doing to continue hearing the call of the ram’s horn:
CANTOR DANIEL PINCUS has been engaged by The Jewish Center of North West Jersey to lead a six-month shofar program
to prepare a new group of shofarists, with in-person visits and videoconferences for distance learning.
MAURICE KAMINS visited Israel and met with Rabbi Natan Slifkin, author of Exotic Shofars, presenting him with four shofarot that Maurice had fashioned from American Bison, Prong Horned Antelope, Sable Antelope and Scimitar Oryx. In addition, he gave a workshop in Visalia, CA on the shofar, and continues to make both exotic as well as traditional shofarot (see sable antelope shofarot in photo below).
ART FINKLE taught 12 students from a Conservative synagogue and two Rabbis to sound shofar. He also conferred with Rabbi Avrohom Reit, author of Teka BeShofar: A Shofar Blowing Manual, wrote a Responsa about the halachah (Jewish Law) of repairing shofarot, and researched and published a work on the Jewish Laws of Shofar. He continues to steep in Talmud, participating in Daf Yomi and studying other tractates.
MICHAEL CHUSID continues to write about shofar at www.HearingShofar.blogspot.com and to edit a video of a shofar symposium held during the past year’s International Day of Shofar Study. He also taught classes on shofar at the Cactus Kallah in Tucson, AZ.
How do you stay in contact with shofar during the “off season”? Write and let us know.
There is a way for you to keep giving of your spirit and talents to the broader American civic world – become a bugler and volunteer for Buglers Across America. There is a bugler shortage, and BAA is working to fill the need for buglers at funerals of veterans. There will be millions of military funerals in the near future, and there is a need. Know that buglers can receive honoraria, so there some money can be made. In this economy, that is no small matter. Also, you can play taps at unveilings conducted by your rabbi and cantor.
Visit them at http://www.buglesacrossamerica.org/Home.aspx
By the way, becoming a bugler will help your shofar playing no end. You will be in good lip all year round.
Organizers of International Day of Shofar Study announce the formation of an online Forum for discussions about shofar. The forum is at http://shofarcorps.proboards.com
and is open to the public.
The first International Day of Shofar Study started an avalanche of emails among participants, eager to continue learning about shofar and networking with other enthusiasts. Email is great for quick messages to a few individuals, but not a practical way for large groups to follow and discuss multiple topics. Another limitation about email dialogs is that they are not available for study or reference by additional interested parties.
The Forum is easy to use, and includes online help. If additional assistance is required, contact info@
It was like the beginning of a meeting for a 12-step program. One by one, they said their names, where they live and how they became addicted … to playing the shofar.
Shofarist David Zasloff, Photo by Rico Mandel.
That’s the provocative, but accurate introduction to an article in the Jewish Journal, about the recent International Day of Shofar Study event in Los Angeles.
Informal shofar classes for the public will be offered throughout the afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 11 at Shalom House, 19740 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills. For more information, call (818) 704-7100 or visit shofarcorps.org.
Richard Sachs, long-time French horn player and shofarist, “went for it” when Cantor Dan Pincus suggested that he convene a Shofaron at his temple. A new tradition was born that night for Monmouth County Jewry. Take a look at this article in the New Jersey Jewish News:
Yashar Koach, Rich. As you said, the kids would not have taken their shofarot out of the closet so early were it not for International Day of Shofar Study on Rosh Chodesh Elul, which Shofar Corps. declared.
Outstanding job, what with the post-Hurricane Irene power outage at your temple.
The following is not organized or sponsored by International Day of Shofar Study, but seems to share many of the same goals:
Join a global project at the nexus of sound, spirit and technology! On September 18th, Art Kibbutz NYC will host the greatest Shofar-blowing event since Sinai, a worldwide art performance that takes the Jewish tradition of sounding the Shofar daily during the Hebrew month of Elul…and gives it a 21st century, postmodern twist.
Action: Join a large group of artists and creative volunteers on September 18th who will blow the shofar together at a designated public space for 2 minutes as a call for teshuvah (return). This is the first-ever FlashMob utilizing a Shofar. Your action will be synchronized with other FlashMob teams around the world. This creative event will be documented and incorporated into an artistic, Rosh Hashana electronic greeting card, orchestrated by a composer. This is your chance to learn how to use the instrument and make a teruah gedolah (huge blast) that will rouse the heavens, and make Jews around the world, the international media and passers-by tremble.
Thank you to everyone who helped make the first International Day of Shofar Study a success. Participants say they deepened their understanding of shofar, improved their technique, and strengthened their kavanah and preparation for the New Year.
We invite your feedback, and ideas about future activities that can build on our momentum.
Modern brass instruments such as the trumpet, trombone, and tuba are called “horns.” And with good reason, since their antecedents were animal horns like the shofar. So it is fitting that the Historic Brass Society has recognized International Day of Shofar Study with a notice on its website’s home page.
The Historic Brass Society is an international music organization concerned with the entire range of early brass music, from Ancient Antiquity and the Biblical period through the present. The history, music, literature and performance practice of early brass instruments such as natural trumpet, natural horn (including shofar), early trombone, cornetto, serpent, keyed bugle, keyed trumpet, early valve horn, 19th century brass instruments are some of the main issues of concern to the HBS. Their Journal has published several excellent articles about the history and meaning of shofar.