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Shofar Tekiah! Shvarim! Teruah! The searing sounds of the shofar stir any Jewish soul to repentance and any Jewish heart to tears. A shofar must be made from the horn of a kosher animal. Tradition calls for a ram’s horn, in remembrance of the Biblical binding of Isaac, when Abraham was sent a ram to sacrifice in place of his son. Usually the shofar is beige in color and about 42 cm long, although dark brown and black shofars and much longer lengths are also available. In the morning of both days of Rosh Hashanah, the shofar service takes pride of place in the synagogue. Everyone comes dressed in their holiday best to hear the moving notes of the oldest wind instrument known to humankind. The shofar’s blast also marks the close of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, and the end of the 25 hour fast. In Israel, the plaintive voice of the shofar has been heard frequently throughout the preceding month of Elul, as pious folk practice the difficult art of shofar blowing in preparation for the High Holidays.

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