High Holy Days begins with Rosh Hashanah
Sept. 14, 2012 at 4:14 a.m.
Dr. Gary Branfman, of Victoria, blows the shofar at Rosh Hashanah services at Temple B'nai Israel in Victoria.
Branfman blasts the instrument, made from a ram's horn, each year at Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of High Holy Days, one the holiest times in the Jewish faith. Rosh Hashanah, also known as Yom Teruah (Day of the shofar blast) begins the 10-day holy season at sundown on Sunday.
Branfman's shofar will blast 100 times on each of the two days of Rosh Hashanah, beginning with the Teki'ah blast, which lasts about three seconds; the Shva'rim blast, which is broken into three segments; the Teruah blast, which consists of nine quick sounds, and the Tekiah Gedolah, a long nine-second blow.
"I feel a connectedness with God when I blow the shofar. I'm carrying on a tradition of Judaism that dates back to the time of Moses," Branfman said. "It's more than a tradition. It's a commandment. You have to hear the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to complete the New Year."
Branfman, the temple's annual shofar blaster, said he is honored and delighted to participate in the ancient tradition of his ancestors.
High Holy Days concludes with Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on Sept. 25.