IEI head
August 2013

Coming up on the Jewish calendar is Rosh Ha'Shana and trailing right behind it Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah. We want to start by wishing you, your family and your colleagues a Happy New Year. May this year be a sweet, healthy and peaceful year for all. 

Jewish LearningWorks' Israel Education Initiative is proud to provide you with creative resource materials and innovative ideas to enhance Israel Education in your programs all year round.


In this issue, we invite you to explore one element of Rosh Ha'Shana - the Shofar, we bring back a  popular item - A Hebrew Moment, and we update you on local resources. We hope that you find the material presented here useful and relevant to your work and encourage you to share your comments, thoughts and ideas with us and with the rest of our Bay Area community.   


The Sound of the Shofar - An Awakening Call
Celebrating Rosh Ha'Shana on September 5-6
Rabbi Shlomo Goren Sounding the Shofar
at the Western Wall, June 1967
"Wake up you sleepers from your sleep and you slumberers from your slumber. Search your deeds and return in penitence."  


Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Teshuvah 3:4   


According to the renowned Jewish philosopher Maimonides, the sound of the Shofar on Rosh Ha'Shana is meant to awaken our souls and turn our attention to the important task of repentance (Teshuvah). The holiday is also called Yom Teruah - Day of Blowing (the Shofar). Although it is one of the major symbols of the holiday, the Shofar has significance beyond Rosh Ha'Shana and the High Holidays.


Of all the Jewish symbols and ritual objects, the Shofar is certainly the loudest. It served throughout history and still does today as an awakening call to the community. Its distinctive, urgent and wailing sound called Israelite troops to assemble, marked biblical kings' coronations, announced the liberation of the Western Wall in 1967, and is blown when an Israeli president is sworn in.

Israeli and Jewish culture does not remain indifferent to the unique sound of the Shofar and the imagery and history it evokes.


We bring you here examples in popular and classical music, visual arts, film and general resources to help you explore the Sound of the Shofar.



Hallelu - Eyal Golan
Hellelu - Eyal Golan
Hallelu - Eyal Golan

With verses from Psalms 150, calling the congregation to praise G-d with music and dance. First on the list of musical instruments is the Shofar.
The beloved last verses of Psalms have been put to music by many artists and communities.
Eyal Golan, is a popular Israeli singer of Yemeni and Moroccan origins.


Sound of the Wheel - Shotey Hanevua
Sound of the Wheel - Shotey Hanevua

Sound of the Wheel - Shotey Hanevua

The lyrics inspired by the Book of Zohar, Parashat VaYechi:

"The sound of the rolling wheel rolls from below upwards. Hidden Merkavot (structures/chariots) go and roll. The sound of melodies rises and falls, wanders and roams the world; the sound of the Shofar (ram's horn) stretches through the depth of the degrees and orbits around the wheel".

Hebrew Lyrics   





Eli Ata - Shlomo Gronich & Moran Choir

Eli Ata, Psalms 118:28
Shlomo Gronich and the Moran Choir
Shlomo Gronich is a highly prolific, gifted, multi-faceted artist, who works extensively with the Moran and Sheba Choir. The Moran Choirs is from Beir Itzhak, with Conductor and Musical Director Naomi Faran.



A Concerto for Ancient Hebrew Ram's Horn

By Meira Warshauer

An article in Forward Magazine



Sound the Shofar - A Witness to History

Shofar exhibit opens in Jerusalem
Shofar Exhibit 
An Exhibition
at the Bible Lands Museum

The shofar is not just a symbol, but a ritual object that has been in use continuously since biblical times. While its predominate use today is in the High Holiday services, in the past it was blown to muster troops to war, during coronation ceremonies for kings, and as a musical instrument at the Temple. "Sound the Shofar - A Witness to History," an exhibit at the Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem (2011), focused on the Shofar and the many ways that it has been presented from biblical times to today. 
Bible Lands Museum exhibit program
Eretz Magazine article

Echoes of the Shofar - A Short Film

Echoes of a Shofar

Toldot Yisrael presents the story of six Jewish heroes who defiantly blew the shofar at the Kotel (Western Wall) over sixty years ago, when it was illegal to do so in British Mandatory Palestine. The British passed a law in 1930 forbidding Jews to blow the shofar at the Kotel, pray loudly there, or bring Torah scrolls, so as not to offend the Arab population.


Despite this restriction, for the next seventeen years, the shofar was sounded at the Kotel every Yom Kippur. Shofars were smuggled in to the Kotel where brave teenagers defiantly blew them at the conclusion of the fast. Some managed to get away - others were captured and sent to jail for up to six months.

Six of these men are still alive. These six men returned to the scene of their "crime". Armed with shofars, they recounted their individual stories and blew shofar again at the Kotel.


The Outlawed Shofar Blower

Rabbi Moshe Segal personal account



Visual Arts 

Eliyahu Sidi, a French born Jerusalem artist has been creating for the past 40 years paintings and sculptures illustrating Jewish texts. By including details of contemporary life and regional folklore of modern Israel, Sidi transports the illustrated Jewish scriptures to the 21st century.
Shay Charka is a comics artist, caricaturist, puppet designer for TV shows and illustrator. Shay regularly publishes a comic series in a children's magazine. So far he has created 10 comics albums. Every week the newspaper Makor Rishon publishes his drawings and caricatures.



Additional Resources


Shofar History and Tradition - My Jewish Learning


Video: Making the Shofar - A Family Tradition 


Video: How a Shofar is Made 


G-dCast Video: Shofar Callin'  


An articles in Hebrew from Dr. Leah Mazor's blog About Bible, Teaching and Education 

The Jubilee Shofar, Shofar Teruah, Excommunication Shofar and the Shofar of the Messiah by Prof. Rachel Elior   


From Hearing Shofar Blog

Postage Stamps with Shofar 


Rega Shel Ivrit
A Hebrew Moment  
ROSH (head)

Modern Hebrew has many uses for the word ROSH (head). Some of these words are related to beginnings: Rosh Ha'Shana (first of the year), Rosh Chodesh (first of the month), Bereshit (In the Beginning, Book of Genesis), Rishon (first), Ba'Rosh U'Va'Rishona (first and foremost); some words convey hierarchy: Rosh Ha'Memshala (prime minister), Rosh Ha'Ir (city mayor); and some convey a state of mind, mental or intellectual capacity. And this is where Israeli slang kicks in:

  • Rosh Gadol (big head) - a thinker, sees the big picture, takes responsibility
  • Rosh Katan (small head) - the opposite of Rosh Gadol, sticks to the specific task or directives at hand, does not take the initiative
  • Rosh Tov (good head) - implies positive state of mind, fun and good atmosphere
  • Litfos Rosh (to catch head) - is used to describe an uplifting experience
  • Be'Rosh Echad (in one head) - with similar opinions, agreement
  • Lishbor Et Ha'Rosh (to break the head) - To struggle to find a solution or answer
  • Lipol Al Ha'Rosh (to fall on the head) - To lose it, to go crazy, not to make sense.
  • Nikuy Rosh (head cleaning) - To take a break or a rest in order to clear your head.
Barosh U'Va'Rishona we want to wish you a Happy Rosh Ha'Shana. May the people in your life be Be'Rosh Echad and may you remember to do a Nikuy Rosh often enough. Shana Tova!



Israel Educational Resources 

In-House Resources 
The Israel Education Initiative develops, creates, acquires and houses exhibits, curricular units, and educational materials for use in a variety of settings. The resources  cover diverse themes and topics that can be used in many ways and will enhance and deepen students' understanding and engagement with Israel.

As you start planning the upcoming school year, we hope you will keep in mind some of our creative and popular programs.

Here is what some educators are saying...

About Apartment for Rent:

"The timeless stories have so many levels of understanding, and the characters are so appealing. Great tool for teaching key values to the youngest kids."


"This will ...create collaboration and sharing within our schools and between communities in the same area. This was a nostalgic touch of Israel for me, touched my heart. I think you've totally go it - bringing "the book" in Israel to kids of USA. Fabulous, amazing."


"Great cultural introduction to the complexities of life in Israel, to the characters of real people who live together in a small place. Great discussion starters for situations that Israelis deal with every day."

Online Resources 
The iCenter - Educator's Backpack
The Lookstein Center


Cultural Events

Polymer Clay and Mosaic Art Exhibit
Tree House - Neta Levi

By Rachel Tirosh and Rachel Greenberg
Palo Alto JCC
Ongoing until September 9

Tree House Art Exhibit 
By Neta Levi, Multi Media Artist
Palo Alto JCC
Ongoing until October 21

Beyond Belief - 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art
Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
Ongoing until October 27

Contact Jewish LearningWorks' 
Israel Education Initiative Team:
Ilan Vitemberg, Director
Vavi Toran, Arts & Culture Specialist