Herbert Belkin
Hert Belkin is a historian who lectures and writes on modern Jewish history.

The Sound of Ancient Israel

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The Temple in Jerusalem is gone. The priests who walked its halls are gone. The smoke that rose from the sacrificial alter has long since dissipated. Sadly, even the sacred Ark of the Covenant has disappeared.

Along with our Torah, there is a link to those biblical days that still survives. One instrument that has remained unchanged from those ancient days. Something we use today that served the priests in their Temple rituals thousands of years ago. It is the shofar, the trumpet of ancient Israel, that to this day provides the same ritual notes heard through centuries of Jewish history.

So much has happened to the Jews since the destruction of the Temple. Many tears, some triumphs; yet through all those many years the shofar remains unchanged. The sound of the shofar today is the same sound that our ancestors heard over two thousand years ago. The way we hold the shofar to our lips is the same way that the Israelite priests blew their shofars. What we hear today are the same haunting notes heard by our ancestors. So much is gone from ancient Israel, yet the shofar remains the same

The sound of the shofar is auditory history. A tradition of sound that was heard by our forefathers and mothers as they traveled through the ages and lands of the Diaspora. As the notes of the shofar – tekiyah, shevarim, teruah – ring in your ears, close your eyes and imagine yourself back in the Temple of Solomon listening to the sound of tradition.

About the Author
Historian Herb Belkin writes and lectures on the epic events of the last two hundred years of Jewish history. His field of study covers Zionism, the Jewish Diaspora and the critical struggle for a Jewish homeland. Herb has taught courses on modern Jewish history at Brandeis, Tufts and Salem State University. He is a columnist for the Jewish Advocate and was a speaker for the Israeli Consulate of New England.
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