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Blow our socks off in shofar contest



Think you can sound a stupefying shevarim or that your tekiah is the talk of the town? Does your tekiah gedolah last from Rosh Hashanah until Pesach?

For the shofar blowers among us, it’s time to show off our lung capacity and blow the community’s socks right off.

As of this week, thousands of accomplished shofar blowers across South Africa are invited to participate in the country’s largest shofar sounding competition to date.

The competition, conceived by the SA Jewish Report, is going to find the greatest shofar blower in South Africa. The title will go to the most talented entrant, so if ever there was a time for breathing exercises, this is it.

“We want to encourage people during Elul to hear the sound of the shofar,” says Howard Sackstein, chairperson of the SA Jewish Report. “Because of COVID-19, people have had to find new ways to ensure that their religious lives and practices can continue safely, and shofar blowing is no different.

“We want to ensure that the ancient tradition continues,” Sackstein says. “The shofar embodies everything Rosh Hashanah is about, and we want our community to feel the spirituality of Elul in spite of the health and safety protocols. We love the ways in which people have embraced technology in order to continue practicing their Judaism, and this competition is certainly part of that.”

Entrants are invited to submit a landscape-orientated video recording of themselves blowing the traditional blasts of tekiahshevarimteruah, and tekiah gedola. Submissions will be played on a webinar hosted by the SA Jewish Report, and the most accomplished blower will receive the title of South Africa’s best shofar blower.

Says Sackstein, “The shofar is an integral part of the Rosh Hashanah experience. We encourage our community to participate in the competition and stand a chance to win our exclusive prize, an exquisite Kudu-horn shofar.”

The stakes are already high, Sackstein says.

“I and our vice-chairperson, Benji Porter, have wagered a bottle of whisky over who will win the competition,” he laughs. “My money is on Rabbi Dovid Hazdan, whom I believe has the longest tekiah gedola in the country. Benji has wagered on Rabbi Yossi Goldman. As an incentive, I’ve offered to share my winning whisky with Rabbi Hazdan.”

“The competition is certainly going to be fierce.”

  • Entry videos for the shofar blowing competition can be submitted via email to The competition closes on 17 September.

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