Aug 22, 2010
The memories of clandestine Shofar blowers
Here is a touching story of a reunion.
After the 1929 Hebron Massacre, the British who ruled Palestine set a bunch of rules against the Jewish community, especially in the area of the Kotel. One of the new laws was that the Jews could not blow the shofar, even on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The Jews, famously, refused to listen and would blow the shofar clandestinely and sometimes be caught and arrested for it.
The last 6 "underground" shofar blowers who remain alive today were brought together to the Kotel for a reunion, though they were really meeting for the first time. It had never been a group effort, just individuals taking their own risk and blowing the shofar. They were brought together to re-enact the experience, and to talk about the memories of it and why they were willing to risk arrest and punishment.
Yaakov Sika Aharoni who blew the shofar in 1938 said "we felt the shechina was with us... [I went to prison] with my head held up high. Blowing the shofar was always the sign of freedom, and for that I was willing to go all the way."
Mordechai Shachori said he was the only survivor, in his family, of the Holocaust. The people who organized the shofar blowings wanted him to ask his parents permission, because there was a risk of being arrested. he responded that he has nobody to ask and he is going to blow the shofar.
Avraham Steinberg came with s wife Clara who spoke and said that they didnt know each other at the time, but she was at the kotel and saw him blow the shofar. Since that day they have been together.
Avarahm Elkayim blew the shofar after Yom Kippur of 1947, and was the last of the shofar blowers, as the kotel fell under Jordan control the next year in the War of Independence. Elkayim said he was approached by someone a bit older and was asked what he has to do with blowing the shofar. he said he was the last to blow. The older fellow responded and said I am Moshe Segal, and I was the first to blow.
Avraham Caspi said he was the last to leave the Hurva synagogue before it was destroyed by the Jordanians. He said at the end of Neilah when he was preparing to blow the shofar, he spotted an undercover British policeman in the group. He says he began to sing in the tune of davening saying that their is a spy among them, as a warning to the others who should proceed with caution.
The memories of Jewish heroes.