• “You shall sound the shofar throughout your land”

    Leviticus 25:9

  • ABOUT THE BLAST

    In summer 2020 at the height of the pandemic, we found ourselves isolated and unable to safely gather to usher in 5781, and it became apparent that few people would be able to hear the sounding of the shofar live due to restrictions on indoor gatherings. In an effort to preserve this treasured tradition, hundreds of you met this moment by taking to the streets for a first-of-its-kind city-wide shofar blast. Our first “Blast” was a resounding success, with the sound of the shofar reverberating from every corner of the city, from the pitcher’s mound at Nats Park to the rooftop of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library.


    This year, we are bringing back The Blast for an even bigger blowout on Monday, September 6 at 4:00 pm ET. As we seek to mark the sanctity of this time, join us as a diverse, pluralistic community of Jews comes together to celebrate this sacred season and remind us that we are all in this together. Just walk outside your house with your shofar and sound the shofar as best or as loud as you can!

  • The Countdown

    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6 AT 4:00 pm EST

  • The Map

    DROP A PIN!

    Pin your location to let others know where you’ll be blowing your shofar. No need to pin your exact address if you don’t want to - you can instead pin the general vicinity or intersection. And, if you’re comfortable, we encourage you to take your shofar to a nearby location where others who don’t have access to a shofar can hear it from a safe distance (think: local parks, central squares, parking lots, etc.) Of course, please remember to bring a mask and remain at a safe distance from others. And if you don't have a shofar to blow but want to hear one, check out the map and find a blast by you, either at the location of one of our partner organizations or a neighborhood pin.

     

    If you want to share your blast on social media, feel free to add your facebook/instagram/tiktok/twitter/snapchat info in your pin to let others know where to find you live on your accounts. And remember to tag @theblastdc on Twitter and use #theblastdc!

  • Partners

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I become a co-sponsor? Do I have to live in DC to participate?

    The more the merrier! If you’re an organization, just send us an email indicating that you’re interested in co-sponsoring. We welcome the participation of our Maryland and Virginia neighbors! If you’re an individual looking to blast, you should just plot yourself on the Blast DC Map (MD and VA shofar blowers welcome!)

     

    What is a shofar?

    A shofar is a hollowed out horn of a kosher animal - most commonly a ram’s horn - that is ritually blown like a trumpet.

     

    When do Jews traditionally blow a shofar?

    In ancient times, a shofar was used pretty often - to announce the new moon, in various war exercises, or even just as an instrument. Nowadays, the shofar is mostly associated with the time of year surrounding the Yamim Nora’im, the High Holy Days. In some traditional communities, it is blown every morning in the month of Elul, which precedes Rosh Hashanah, and then most notably on Rosh Hashanah itself and to end Yom Kippur. Some communities refrain from blowing the shofar on Shabbat.

     

    How can I purchase a shofar?

    If you’re affiliated with a synagogue or organization, check to see if they have a gift shop.

    Otherwise, you can buy anything on the internet! Lots of Judaica shops have shofarot (plural of shofar) available for purchase online. (And, of course, there’s a shofar store on Amazon.)

     

    I have a shofar, but I’m not sure how to blow it. How can I learn?

    There are three major sounds one makes when traditionally blowing a shofar. Tekiya is one long, sustained blast. (Tekiya Gedolah is just a really long Tekiya - see how long you can go for!) Shevarim consists of three medium blasts in a row. Teruah is a staccato rhythm with 9+ short blasts in a row. A traditional set of shofar blasts is Tekiya-Shevarim-Teruah-Tekiya Gedolah. The key to getting better, like with any instrument, is practice, practice, practice.

     

    How do I participate in The Blast?

    Hearing the sound of the shofar is an essential aspect of the high holiday experience for many Jews. If you have a shofar and are able to blow it, we encourage you to go to The Blast DC Map below and pin your location to let others know where you’ll be blowing your shofar at the designated time (4:00 pm ET on September 6). No need to pin your exact address - instead pin the general vicinity or intersection. And, if you’re comfortable, we encourage you to take your shofar to a nearby location where others who don’t have access to a shofar can hear it from a safe distance (think: local parks, central squares (or circles), parking lots, etc.)

     

    If you want to share your blast on social media, feel free to add your facebook/instagram/tiktok/twitter/snapchat info in your pin to let others know where to find you live on your accounts. And remember to tag @theblastdc on Twitter and use #theblastdc!

     

    How can I learn more about the shofar?

    There are so many shofar resources! This My Jewish Learning article (or this one!), or some of these source sheets, are great places to start.

    Is there a way to participate if I don’t own a shofar?

    Yes! This ancient ritual is about hearing the sound of the shofar, not sounding it yourself. So even if you don’t own a shofar or can’t figure out how to blow it, you can still fully participate. Using the map, you can find a location where you can be sure that the shofar will be sounded at the designated time (4:00 pm ET on September 6).


    If you don’t have a shofar but still want to participate in making the sounds of the shofar, you can also purchase any horn-like instrument. This is an especially great way to engage young kids - we recommend buying a “kiddie shofar” like this one.

     

    How do I blow a shofar safely during COVID?

    While poskim (Jewish legal experts) have not (yet?) given medical rulings on this, and while doctors have not (yet?) written a ton of COVID halacha (Jewish law), here are some guidelines from those authorities.

     

    Things we know:

    We know it takes tremendous force of air to blow a shofar.

    We know that the more forceful we exhale, the more droplets and microdroplets we produce.

     

    Things that make shofar blowing safer:

    Only use a personal shofar and never share instruments.

    If you are sick with COVID-like symptoms, do not try to blow the shofar.

    Do not blow the shofar indoors with other people present.

    Lowest risk is outdoors and far away from others. “Far away” is hard to define without hard data, but we do know that unmasked coughing can transmit droplets up to 20 feet in certain environments, so 20-30 ft away from others is probably safest.

     

    An extra safety measure is to cover the wider end of the shofar with a mask. While it might look strange (see a photo of Rabbi Jason Weiner below), it is 100% legit to blow this way.

     

    What if it rains?

    Blow your shofar under an awning, umbrella, or out in the elements. A wet shofar is still a kosher shofar. Rosh Hashanah is coming, rain or shine!

     

    Any good shofar puns?

    Nothing shofar, but we’re working on it. Hope we don’t blow it!

  • Contact

    Tag #theblastdc and follow the hashtag on social media for more content!

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