SO YOU THINK YOU CAN BLOW THE SHOFAR? The National Jewish Outreach Program will Hold the Finals of “Great Shofar Blast-Off” in Herald Square Park on September 22, 2005

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The National Jewish Outreach Program is searching for the best shofar blower in America. Finals will be held in Herald Square Park on September 22, 2005.

Every year, the call of the shofar heralds the New Year for Jewish people around the world; what better place to hold the Great Shofar Blast Off finals than Herald Square Park in the heart of New York City. The National Jewish Outreach Program (http://www.njop.org) has invited amateur and professional shofar blowers to enter the “Great Shofar Blast-Off” competition for a chance to win a pair of round trip tickets to Israel, and accommodations. Winner will claim the title of Greatest Shofar Blower in America and participate in potential national media initiatives. The deadline for entry is August 31st.

For thousands of years, the shofar—an ancient wind instrument made from a ram’s horn—has been used to rouse Jews to repent and strive for new heights of spirituality. When blown correctly, the sound is truly awe-inspiring. But blowing a shofar is no easy task.

NJOP is challenging shofar blowers to “blow them away” by submitting a video tape, DVD, or video clip showcasing their shofar blowing skills. Five finalists will be selected to participate in the Great Shofar Blast-Off in Herald Square Park on September 22nd at noon. At the live, public event, a distinguished panel of judges will evaluate the finalists’ skills based on clarity of sound, accuracy according to Jewish law, length of blast and overall performance.

The Great Shofar Blast-Off is aimed, in part, at inspiring unaffiliated Jews to participate in NJOP’s High Holiday Beginners Services which are held at synagogues across North America.

“We are taking the shofar from the synagogue to the streets,” says Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, Founder and Director of NJOP. “The powerful shofar blasts serve as a wake up call for the soul. We hope that the Great Shofar Blast-Off will awaken in Jews the desire to attend their local High Holiday Beginners Services. After all, if the sound of the shofar could bring down the walls of Jericho thousands of years ago, it can certainly serve to inspire today’s Jews to tap into their heritage and make their Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur experiences more meaningful.”

Entries must be postmarked by August 31, 2005. Complete rules and the entry form can be found at http://www.njop.org.

Herald Square Park is located on 34th Street (between Sixth and Broadway) in New York city and is managed by the 34th Street Partnership (34SP.) The National Jewish Outreach Program has worked closely with 34SP in planning this event.

About the National Jewish Outreach Program

Founded in 1987 by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald to address the critical issues of assimilation and lack of Jewish knowledge, NJOP is now one of the largest and most successful Jewish outreach organizations in the world. To date, more than 850,000 people have benefited from NJOP’s innovative, free programs which have been held in 3,630 locations—including synagogues, community centers, military bases and college campuses—in all 50 states, nine Canadian provinces and 30 countries around the world. (http://www.njop.org).

About the 34th Street Partnership

Founded in 1992, the 34th Street Partnership is a coalition of property owners, tenants, and city officials working to revitalize the District with major streetscape improvements, special security and sanitation services. Encompassing a 32-block grid of prime midtown Manhattan real estate - from 31st to 35th Street, and from Tenth Avenue to the west side of Park Avenue - the 34th Street District is packed with: more than 500 stores, including the Manhattan Mall, H&M, and Victoria’s Secret; over 150 restaurant establishments, such as the Tupelo Grill, Tir na nOg Bar & Grill, and Nick & Stef’s Steak House; and scores of world famous tourist attractions such as Macy’s Herald Square, Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building.

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Ilya Welfeld