BRANDON – Since 1993, every time the Jewish New Year comes around, Joel Edelson, the Ba’al Tekiah at Congregation Beth Shalom, blows the shofar.
The trumpet-like instrument is made from a ram’s horn and was used in ancient Israel to summon people to gather. Now it calls people to repentance on Rosh Hashanah (New Year) morning.
“The shofar is the essential symbol of the New Year and the sounding of shofar is the highlight of the worship service,” said Rabbi Betsy Torop.
This year, children from fourth grade and up will audition, trying to produce a sound on the shofar. And then, as Edelson blows the tekiyah gedolah, or final, long blast, the children will join in, each on their own shofar.
“For young people to be part of this key experience is not only exciting for them, but inspirational for our entire community gathered at this sacred occasion,” said Torop.
“I am quite amazed that I am able to produce the sound that I do, and I love watching the faces of the congregation as they hear the shofar blasts,” said Edelson, who was able to make a sound on the shofar on his first attempt 25 years ago. “It is a very powerful moment of the holiday for everyone, and I’m glad to be able to be a part of it.”
The evening of Sept. 4 marks the beginning Rosh Hashanah, which lasts for two days.
Contact Barbara Routen at Neighbors@tampabay.rr.com.