Sounds of the Shofar


A Message from Arlene Miller, President & CEO


Just a few days ago we celebrated Rosh Hashana and heard the blasts of the shofar which wake us up – literally and figuratively. This year's shofar blowing was unexpectedly the most emotional one I’ve experienced as it touched my heart in ways I had never imagined.

Two people were called up to the bimah (synagogue platform). At the time, I didn't recognize who they were but, from where I was sitting, I could see a resemblance and surmised they were related – father and daughter. They prepared to blow three rounds of notes. The rabbi called the first note and the father brought the shofar to his lips. Then, with the breath that he had, he blew. He blew with all of his might. What we heard was pride, determination, and a commitment to a tradition. His daughter finished the remaining notes. There, we heard the sharp piercing blast of the shofar sounding the future of pride, determination and a commitment to our tradition.

The next note was called and the father continued to blow. This time, we heard him standing as a teacher to his daughter. She then blew her shofar and, in the strength of her notes, she acknowledged that she had heard him.

The final round they blew together, in unison. We heard the blasts and the spirit. The final tekiah gedolah – the long note – was the one that brought tears to my eyes. As the father’s note began to wane, his daughter didn't miss a beat and she carried the note, the blast, the tradition far into every crevice of the sanctuary. I felt L'dor v'dor – from generation to generation. The hope for our future was tangible. And all who were in their presence on that holy day felt it.

As we prepare to observe Yom Kippur this evening, Kol Nidre, may we all pause to reflect upon the sounds of the shofar. This is a time to listen to the literal and figurative calls, a time for introspection and repentence. Shana tova and G’mar Chatima Tova – Happy New Year and may you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

 Alene Millier



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