• “You shall sound the shofar throughout your land”

    Leviticus 25:9

  • ABOUT THE BLAST

    This year, we will observe the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) differently than we ever have before. Though we find ourselves isolated and unable to safely gather to usher in 5781, it feels more important than ever to mark the sanctity of this time and to affirm our connectedness as a Jewish community. In that spirit, join us for “The Blast,” an opportunity for the Washington Jewish community to welcome Rosh Hashanah with city-wide shofar blasts.

     

    How does it work?

    We are asking people to blow the shofar from their locations around the city at 5pm on September 18, right before Rosh Hashanah begins. Just walk outside your house with your shofar and sound the shofar as best or as loud as you can! This new year, the sound of the shofar will reverberate around the city as we awaken to the coming of a new year and it will remind us that we are all in this together. Join us as a diverse, pluralistic community of Jews comes together to mark this sacred season.

  • The Countdown

    SEPTEMBER 18, 5pm 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 - 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.) Of course, please remember to bring a mask and remain at a safe distance from others.

     

    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!

     

    DROP A PIN: https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1fn_2IS0T1qEOD5uJ7Dj9-MWMLDx7Q8CM&usp=sharing

  • The Blast DC

  • Organizers

  • Frequently Asked Questions

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

    The more the merrier! Just send us an email indicating that you’re interested in co-sponsoring. We welcome the participation of our Maryland and Virginia neighbors! And shofar blowers in Maryland and Virginia should definitely plot themselves on The Blast DC Map.

     

    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. Purchasing a shofar is a great way of supporting your congregation’s gift shop when there isn’t much foot traffic. Some congregations have migrated to online stores and curbside pickup.

    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 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 (5 pm EST on September 18). 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.) Of course, please remember to bring a mask and remain at a safe distance from others.

     

    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. Thanks to our handy map, you can find a location where you can be sure that the shofar will be sounded at the designated time (5 pm EST on September 18). Please be mindful of safety - if you are looking to meet up with others, don’t forget your mask and to keep at a safe distance (6ft from other humans and at least 20ft from the shofar...more on that below.)


    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?

    Welcome to some thoughts from the category of “things our 2019 selves would have not have understood.” 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 a combo of 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!