Each Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning the 4th and 5th grade students gather in the library to pray.
Since the beginning of the school year, we have marked the conclusion of prayers by blowing the shofar. This causes the students to erupt into a joyous laughter. The act of listening to the shofar after morning prayers is an important tradition during the month of Elul, a month of introspection leading up to the High Holidays.
The sages tell us that the shofar has many mystical meanings associated with its sound. It symbolizes our cries as we beg G-d to listen to our prayers. The shofar acts as a wake up call signaling us to break down the barrier between ourselves and the divine. Its sounds contain the unspoken prayers and wishes for those who can’t open up their hearts to prayer. The shofar connects us to our ancient past, and its often shrill sound encapsulates the longing of humanity for wholeness and healing.
The ecstatic smiles and laughter of my tefillah students, in contrast to the traditional somber associations with the sound of the shofar, led me to ask students around the school about what they feel or think about when they hear the shofar. Here are some of their answers: