Chabad centers across the globe expect spillover crowds for the High Holiday services, and many move to larger venues to accommodate the large turnout. And yet, for myriad reasons, many more Jews will not make it to the synagogue at all.
But they too should have the opportunity to hear the shofar, a Biblical mitzvah. So Chabad rabbis, students and volunteers, will be canvassing army bases, senior centers, hospitals and even prisons, and sounding the shofar blasts for any Jew who hasn’t made it to shul. They’ll even find Jews on the go, and offer to blow the ram’s horn in middle of a busy street.
In recent years, Chabad has taken the shofar to the park. “It is non-threatening to blow shofar in the park. Many people who weren’t planning on attending synagogue, feel comfortable coming to the park to hear shofar,” says Rabbi Yisroel Freeman, the Chabad representative in Sudbury, Massachusetts, who will be sounding the shofar at the historic Grist Mill at the scenic landmark Longfellow’s Wayside Inn on Thursday and Friday.
Announcements in the parks’ bulletins and Facebook pages gives many who might have missed the holiday altogether, a Rosh Hashana reminder.
“This September 25, duck out of the New York City hubbub for an hour of refuge at the Norman Landscape in Central Park. Return to a simpler, more essential state, together with fellow New Yorkers. Hear the stirring, unadulterated blasts of the Shofar as we reflect on our collective birthday. And walk away with a message that you were carrying all along,” New York City’s Central Park officially announced.
In many places it has become a joint community activity, where synagogue members will canvas local public places and encourage their fellow Jews to join them. “It’s kind of cool to have it in a public place and share it with everyone,” Emily Gressel told a reporter after the 2011 shofar blowing in Central Park.
Similar events will take place in places like the Grove in Los Angeles, California; Washington Park in Denver, Colorado; Laurelhurst Park in Portland, Oregon; Mushroom Farm Park in Johannesburg, South Africa; David Lam Park in Downtown Vancouver, Canada.
“The location is perfect. Hearing the shofar blown last year on that spot was very special. The crowd was huge, warm and inviting. Can’t wait for this year,” says Nancy Goren Schwartz of Sudbury.
To find out about your local shofar blowing locations, use our Chabad locator to contact our local representatives.