How to Make a Shofar

The shofar is a polished ram’s horn blown during Jewish ceremonies. When making a shofar it is most important to only use the horn of an acceptable, kosher animal: a ram, gazelle, antelope or goat.  Tradition forbids the use of a cow’s horn (due to the association of cows with the sin of the golden calf). A ram’s horn is the most commonly used for making a shofar. Horns can be ordered from a butcher store or bought directly from a slaughterhouse.

Boil the horn for 2-5 hours in soapy water, then remove the cartilage with a pick.

Measure the length of the hollow section by inserting wire or a stick down the centre of the hollow. Add approx 2cm to that measurement. Mark the total measurement (length of hollow + one inch) on the outside of the horn, then once the shofar is completely dry, cut or saw off the tip at the above-mentioned mark. Drill at the sawn off end, using a 1/8 of an inch drill, continuing until the drill meets the hollow of the horn.

Next, carve a bell-shaped mouthpiece, similar to that found on a trumpet, at the end of the shofar. Then smooth it using an electric tool. The mouthpiece should be modified to suit the needs of the blower.

The entire inner and outer surface can be smoothed using an electric tool. Do not shine it, but rather keep it rough and uneven. There should not be any holes in the sides of the shofar, nor should any paint be added to it. Designs can be carved on the outer edge, or on the body of the shofar.

Once the shofar is complete and blown properly, its sound will be unique and will remain with you for a long time.

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