Smithsonian Collections

Shofar

Image for Shofar
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Description
The shofar, one of the earliest known musical instruments, is usually made from a ram's horn. Used in biblical times to signal important events, it is also blown on High Holy Days (10 days in the fall of the year). It is sounded many times during the services of Rosh ha-Shanah (the Jewish New Year) and once to conclude Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
The blasts of the instrument are meant to wake slumbering souls to review their actions of the past year, to make amends, and to renew their devotion to work for the social and communal good in the coming year. This shofar is of a form typical of central European instruments, with a straightened shaft and flattened mouthpiece. It belonged to Curator Cyrus Adler's grandfather, Leopold Sulzberger, who was born in Germany. Sulzberger arrived in the United States in 1838, and died in 1881.
Location
Currently not on view
user
Sulzberger, Leopold
Cotton States Exposition
Date made
before 1838
Credit Line
Gift of David Sulzberger, 1889
Physical Description
horn, ram (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 3 1/2 in x 11 1/2 in x 1 in; 8.89 cm x 29.21 cm x 2.54 cm
Object Name
shofar
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Religion
ID Number
MI.095142
accession number
22131
catalog number
095142
Related Publication
Grossman, Grace Cohen, with Richard Eighme Ahlborn. Judaica at the Smithsonian: Cultural Politics as Cultural Model
subject
Judaism
Immigration
Expositions and Fairs
Family
related event
Cotton States and International Exposition
Place Made
Germany