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Joy Serves G*d in Joy as a passionate performing percussionist, poet, publisher, photographer, publicist, sound healer, spiritual guide, artist, gardener and Gemini. "Ivdu Et Hashem B'Simcha" -Psalm 100:2 ....... Joy Krauthammer, active in the Jewish Renewal, Feminist, and neo-Chasidic worlds for over three decades, kabbalistically leads Jewish women's life-cycle rituals. ... Workshops, and Bands are available for all Shuls, Sisterhoods, Rosh Chodeshes, Retreats, Concerts, Conferences & Festivals. ... My kavanah/intention is that my creative expressive gifts are inspirational, uplifting and joyous. In gratitude, I love doing mitzvot/good deeds, and connecting people in joy. In the zechut/merit of Reb Shlomo Carlebach, zt'l, I mamash love to help make our universe a smaller world, one REVEALING more spiritual consciousness, connection, compassion, and chesed/lovingkindness; to make visible the Face of the Divine... VIEW MY COMPLETE PROFILE and enjoy all offerings.... For BOOKINGS write: joyofwisdom1 at gmail.com, leave a COMMENT below, or call me. ... "Don't Postpone Joy" bear photo montage by Joy. Click to enlarge. BlesSings, Joy

Created My Shofar


In glowing terms I told the visiting SHOFAR FACTORY mavens (Levi from Australia, and Mendel from Brooklyn, as well as my Chabad rabbi) about the Hearing Shofar site and about Shofar Corps!!!  I enjoy reading and contributing thoughts to this expansive shofar site:  http://www.hearingshofar.com

I do own, enjoy, and play daily during Elul, a lovely light pearly colored, curvy shiny smooth shofar that I bought in the Old City. 

One of the mavens' dozen display horns was a Gemsbok; I recognized the earthy, long straight heavily rimmed and rough brown natural horn which can double as a percussion guiro!

Mavens and I arrived in Chabad parking lot at same time for the children's (and "young at heart") workshop.  From their car trunk, they brought in a several small horns for the young kids, and when I asked, they allowed me to look myself through their horn-filled car trunk. Looked like a horn graveyard, not appealing or respectful, but a whole lot of horns piled in to choose from. I didn't want an arbitrary horn.

In their auto trunk were a million small horns; I picked out one; not that I liked it or was drawn to it, didn't even have wonderful curvature, but a slight subtle curve, one flat side, no unwanted holes, and it did fit my hand size. I liked it more than the several others I lifted which did not appeal to me and were rough, flaky, scaly, barely curved, dull, thin or short. They didn't call out to me to take them. A very sad day if this was a pet adoption center.

I made the horn mine by stroking it, turning it over and over, like Torah. Touched the inside, the outside. I really liked the smooth dark pointy horn tip. I expected that the horn inside would smell bad and was surprised that the horn smelled OK.

There was a peculiar partially loose membrane tissue layer inside horn's large opening that I tried many times to remove. I mostly got it out by peeling, picking, scraping, and sanding it away without soaking it in hot water-- which is what I'd been advised to do at home.

I liked the horn's natural outside roughness but the maven said G*d wants us to beautify it and enhance it and do some work for it, so nu, I sanded and sanded. Looked dull, not polished. … I do know about Hiddur Mitzvah. Without being told, I also sanded the new 'to be' mouth piece to a pleasant bevel. 

With a slightly curved hanger wire, I measured the inside length of ram's horn until where it was plugged with core, and made a mark a little further on the outside of horn. Rabbi had earlier made a shorter mark but I liked my longer mark for where tip would be cut off. (Better safe than sorry.)

Wearing a dust mask and heavy gloves, I power sawed off the tip after I had sanded forever. I'd never used a hand power saw but I DID today! Had a trigger and was heavy and I kept pushing deeper and increasing the speed. I was the only one who insisted on doing it myself! I DID IT MYSELF and it looked good! The small cut piece has a beautiful coloring. I kept the 2 1/3" tip. I like the tip but it's too short for a percussion striker. If it was an umbilical cord, I would have buried it in ceremony.

Then, at my request, my rabbi let me drill a bit of the solid small end for the mouthpiece but he did most of the boring which is good so I didn't blow it. I had to participate in my shofar creating! I blew the dust out of hole but barely felt the expelled air. 

When after drilling the rabbi blew it-- now a shofar, and it sounded great! Now my turn. On my own, I said Shehecheyanu.  And ME, I can't get a sound out of it… OK, then I got a nothing / gornisht sound out of it, maybe a newborn baby single tekiah, so I know we both have potential…
oy vey.

Babies come through narrow straights. My rabbi quoted something about "narrow straights…"  What was that?  Mitzrayim? The maven said that I'll practice and get better.

Sanded large irregular open end to get off a small bothersome nubby chunk like nipple on the inside. I feel like the big open end has been circumcised to a new form, and it doesn't feel good. Sorry I let the maven sand off the nubbiness. They were ready to pack up after a couple hours, and were in a hurry so I didn't insist on doing it myself.  (I had let all the little kids go ahead of me.) I worked on another broken notchy place to smooth that out on same open large end.

I went outside the shul, and with consciousness held up with skinny wood skewers my shofar to the large spray can of shellac, noticing the wind direction. I shellacked the shofar to make it shiny because the mavens said that's what you do to make shofar look professional. With the sticks in my hand holding up shofar, it dries without my finger prints all over it, which there are anyway because I like touching it. 
(I like water smoothed rounded black river stones and like them shiny, so I add water or oil to them.)

I wouldn't have shellacked but there were two small scaly rough spots on the outside that would splinter and that refused to smooth out even though I sanded them for over an hour. I didn't have "filler wood" that the maven suggested. ("Not halachic" according to Hearing Shofar.) The more I sanded, the worse they got. Almost sanded to the inside. I added extra shellac to the layered rough spots. (It didn't help.)

What used to be a dull medium brown horn color is now a shiny, very dark mahogany shofar color. (I tried sanding off some shiny shellac and it only leaves unsatisfactory sanding scratchy lines!) Thankfully some of the horn texture where I purposefully only lightly sanded toward the narrow tapered end, is still visible looking like lovely dark and light wind ripples on the ocean sand or water. I don't like dark!

It's my shofar. With kavannah, I MADE IT.  Wish I could blow the notes on it…  I would like to connect to my shofar…

I dedicate my shofar making to my beloved rebbe, Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen, z'l, a singer of holy songs. He would have loved it that I made my own shofar. He would have loved it more if I could blow it.  Yosef's first yahrzeit is in 12 days. May he hear all the sounds of the shofarot around the world and in heaven.

© Joy Krauthammer

My Chabad rabbi tells me:
"It works just fine. Keep trying..."

next day. TEKIAH
Listening on the phone to my daughter and her cooing with baby infant and many new sounds, I picked up my new shofar, placed it in my hand, rolled it around to a comfort zone and while continuing to listen on the phone-- made a very long extended crystal clear high blast. I was stunned! Yet I knew it would happen because I wanted it badly and visioned it.  Baruch Hashem
My daughter didn't appreciate the blast and told me to warn her next time. She didn't understand my challenge.

 Blessing before Hearing Shofar  (from Hearing Shofar)

Baruch atah Adonai Elokaynu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu lishmo-ah kol shofar.

Blessed are you, Eternal One our G*d, Universal Sovereign, who sanctifies us with holy ways and commands us to hear the voice of shofar.

Following first time you hear shofar in Elul or Rosh Hashanah and at other significant occasions:

Baruch atah Adonai Elokaynu Melech ha-olam,
shehecheyanu, v’kiyamanu, v’higiyanu, lazman hazeh.

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BlesSings for health and joy,