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In 1930, the British in "British Mandate Palestine" passed a law against the Jews to prevent them from doing many things at the Kotel, such as forbidding them to bring Torah Scrolls, praying loudly, or blowing the Shofar! This was so as not to offend the "Arab" population.
What a change from those days to the present! Well, maybe not so much. We can now pray out loud, have minyans and Torah scrolls, and the joyful sounds of the Shofar are heard across the plaza. Although the Arab population have their "muezzins" screaming at full volume over high-powered loud speakers many times a day all over Israel, the Jews keep tradition and use only their voices and the natural sounds of the Shofar.
On Yom Kippur~the holiest day in the year for Jews~the Shofar is blown at the end of a full day of fasting and praying. The day begins at sundown when Jews light candles and go to the synagogue for the Kol Nidrei service. We fast and pray and when the final Shofar note is sounded at the end of the next day, it proclaims a "closing of the gates" for the process of divine judgment and gives us the confidence that our efforts have been noticed and our prayers and supplications have been accepted before Hashem.
Whenever Jews were forbidden to pray and blow the Shofar, as it was under the British, there was always a group of brave young men who managed the holy task. In 1930 (and for the next seventeen years), the Shofar was sounded at the Kotel on Yom Kippur.
|The Jail Dorm in Jerusalem (Click to Enlarge)|
Shofars were smuggled in to the Kotel where brave teenagers defiantly blew them at the conclusion of the fast. If they were caught, they were a were sent to jail for up to six months. Six of these men returned to the scene of their "crime".
In the video below they describe how they were able to blow the Shofar on Yom Kippur, with the help of the entire community. Once again they blew their Shofars at the Kotel, but this time they were free men~Jews in their Holy City, Jerusalem.
Throughout the centuries the Jewish people have managed to survive against all odds. I believe it is because there has always been a core of faithful who refuse to assimilate and put their faith in Hashem and our Holy Torah above all else. This is but one story.
Echoes of A Shofar~Toldot Yisrael (http://www.toldotyisrael.org)