Shofar Season

It’s Shofar Season: Jews With Horns (Photos)

As Rosh Hashanah kicks off with a tekiah, see photos of the holiday's undisputed star—the ram’s horn blown to usher in the Jewish new year. L’Shana Tova!

AP Photo ; AFP / Getty Images ; EPA / Landov ; Israel Sun / Landov

AP Photo ; AFP / Getty Images ; EPA / Landov ; Israel Sun / Landov

Mazel tov, it’s shofar season! If you’re new to the term, a shofar—made out of a ram’s horn—is an ancient instrument blown during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The sound of the horn is said to “awaken the soul,” a fitting way to begin the Jewish new year. And while the device is generally reserved for religious purposes, some musicians, including famous jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie, have been known to make use of shofars in their tunes. Experts are termed Tokea, which literally means blaster, or Ba’al Tekia, meaning master of the blast. From mavens to novices, here are some noise-making shofar blowers doing their thing.

Hasan Sarbakhshian / AP Photo

Iranian Jew Parviz Minaei blows the ram’s horn as a call for spiritual preparation for Rosh Hashana.

Ariel Schalit / AP Photo

American music legend Paul Simon looks longingly at a shofar during a press conference in Tel Aviv.

Abir Sultan, EPA / Landov

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Mutzafi gets a closer look as he ponders the unique collection of shofars at his house in Jerusalem.

Ariel Schalit / AP Photo (2)

Israeli shofar maker Avraham Ribak holds a ram’s skull that he will soon transform into two shofars.

Marco Longari, AFP / Getty Images

A demonstration of shofar-blowing protesters is attention grabbing, to say the least. These ultra-Orthodox Jews are making some noise against a building company that allegedly plans to remove ancient Jewish tombs to construct a new building in Jaffa, just south of Tel Aviv.

Kfir Sivan, Israel Sun / Landov

Avraham Ribak shows some serious lung power with double the horns in his Tel Aviv workshop, where his family has been making shofars for four generations.

Ariel Schalit / AP Photo

Sound check! Israeli Avihile Arizoni tests out an incredibly long and ornate shofar before sundown. 

Tina Fineberg / AP Photo

A shofar blast to the ear is not appreciated by this young boy, who clamps hands to his head as his father shows him how to blow the horn in New York.

Ben Margot / AP Photo

With a hot-dog bun in one hand and a shofar in the other, Rabbi Yosef Langer of San Francisco multitasks before a Chicago Cubs–San Francisco Giants baseball game as he prepares kosher franks.

Kevin Frayer / AP Photo

A religious man blows a shofar outside Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, where former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was in critical condition in 2006. 

Jack Guez, AFP / Getty Images

The blast from a shofar is enough to make this young girl cry during a celebration in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya. Hopefully her dad made it up to her with some apples and honey—a traditional Rosh Hashana treat.

Kevin Frayer / AP Photo

A religious Jew isn’t kidding around as he blows a shofar in protest during a demonstration against a gay-pride parade in Jerusalem in June 2007.

Hasan Sarbakhshian / AP Photo

Iranian Jew Yousef Sheibani, deep in concentration, appears to be a Tokea (expert shofar blaster).

Bernat Armangue / AP Photo

A man blows a shofar while attending a prayer and protest against the celebration of summer festivals in Jerusalem.

Yehuda Raizner, AFP / Getty Images

This Israeli man has shofars to spare. Here he gets some practice a week before the start of Rosh Hashana.

Abir Sultan, EPA / Landov

Hundreds gather at the Western Wall, a holy place where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem’s Old City before the start of Rosh Hashana.

Jonathan Nackstrand, AFP / Getty Images

An ultra-Orthodox Jew keeps his focus at the Western Wall during the annual commemoration of the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples.