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Eyewitnesses share their personal stories of how Jews valiantly resisted the British ban on sounding the shofar at the Western Wall from 1930-1947.

Defiance at the Western Wall

Defiance at the Western Wall

Echoes of a Shofar


Defiance at the Western Wall : Echoes of a Shofar

Eyewitnesses share their personal stories of how Jews valiantly resisted the British ban on sounding the shofar at the Western Wall from 1930-1947.
Yom Kippur, Shofar Sounding at the end of Yom Kippur, Western Wall, Shofar

"Echoes of a Shofar" recounts the amazing story of Jewish pride at the Western Wall during the years 1930-1947 when British law made it illegal to blow the shofar at the Kotel, pray loudly there, or even bring Torah scrolls, so as not to offend the hostile Arab population.

Despite this restriction, for the final seventeen years of the British Mandate, the shofar was sounded at the Wall at the conclusion of every Yom Kippur, in defiance of the ban.

Shofars were smuggled to the Western Wall where brave young Jews defiantly blew them at the conclusion of the fast. Some managed to get away — others were captured and sent to jail for up to six months.

Six of these men are still alive and Toldot Yisrael, the producers of this remarkable video, accompanied them as they returned to the scene of their "crime" to recount their individual stories. In a rare glimpse into living history, each of them shares with us his spirit of amazing bravery and commitment to live proudly as Jews.

The first of these "rebel shofar blowers," no longer living, was the Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi, R' Moshe Tzvi Segal. Every year thereafter, young Jewish men from all walks of life were inspired to follow in Rabbi Segal's footsteps and take the risk of being the one to sound the shofar. (Read his story written in his own words: The Shofar and the Wall .)

"Echoes of a Shofar," produced by the Toldot Yisrael oral history project, captures the essence of the resilient Jewish spirit which refuses to be suppressed under any conditions.

Toldot Yisrael is a Jerusalem based nonprofit dedicated to recording and sharing the firsthand testimonies of Israel's founding generation. Echoes of a Shofar is the premiere episode in the "Eyewitness 1948" short film series produced by Toldot Yisrael, The iCenter, and the History Channel in Israel. This series was made possible through the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation.
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ariella Mansfield, Texas (TX) March 28, 2012

chair throwing any man dares to throw anything at me he is getting arrested for assault, kotel or no. I had a rock thrown at me once. the man could have blinded me! i pressed charges. There is no excuse for such bad behavior Reply

Phil Elizabeth, NJ, USA via October 18, 2011

Joel BTW, I agree throwing chairs is unnacceptable. I disagree with your assesment of Orthodox Judaism, The "modern" orthodoxy I live daily accepts that we must live a fully Torah-compliant life within the society of the Diaspora. It in no way argues that elements of Rabbinic Law are outdated or not applicable to Jews living today. As in the time of the Temple, Jews will someday BOTH study the Torah AND re-institute the Holy Sacrifices in a rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem. These two central aspects of Jewish life were never meant to be mutually exclusive. May this happen speedily in our day, so that we can return to Zion and live the entire Torah once again. Reply

Joel October 12, 2011

Dear Ben and Phil, @Ben, its not about being liberal, rather tolerant and respectful of others. I think that Jewish men throwing chairs at the praying Jewish women, as has been done in Jerusalem is also against many points of Halacha and basic Yiddishkeit.

@Phil, what we now call Orthodox was also once reformed, otherwise shall we go back to Sacrificing animals instead of studying Torah and Talmud? Reply

Anonymous Bklyn, New York October 10, 2011

IF I COULD If I could meet these men, I would be so happy, because I would stand up for them to show respect. what more can i say but that we have survived for having such great and brave people.
Jews are just so incredible! Reply

Ilan Zissie Krutman São Paulo, SP/Brazil October 3, 2011

Shofar Sounding, Yom Kipur, Western Wall The sound that I ear from shofar near the Western Wall is different from the shofar sound at synagogue. The sound near the Western Wall appear like an infinite sound without ending. Is it my impression or I am dreaming. Reply

asunshinegirl79akakarinarose Jerusalem, Israel January 25, 2011

Blow you Shofars... as loud and with pure Love of G-d.... anytime you want. Reply

Anonymous Toronto January 2, 2011

Beautiful Story I wept with appreciation and joy. Thanks. Reply

Ben Oakhurst, NJ November 24, 2010

To J. Bernstein and Joel I suggest you both speak to your local Chabad rabbi IMMEDIATELY for you, Ms. Bernstein, are in a violation of Halacha and Joel, those women are true G-d fearin women that know the halachot and that they are not obligated to be called up to the Torah and hold it as the men are. In fact, all of this is clearly stated here on this website for your consumption and lists the sources and reasons for the halachot. Please read them before you make such statements!!
Also, Phil, I am a liberal in politics, but NOT in my religion, please don't make such generalizations! Also, G-d forbid that any Jew should "fade away", we must educate the Jews for they know not what they do and the reasons for which they do it! Only proper, non-secular, Jewish education can correct the wrongs that decades of secular assimilation has done! Reply

Phil Elizabeth, NJ via September 22, 2010

To J. Bernstein and Joel Ms. Bernstein: The Jews in the film risked long imprisonment to overcome British anti-Semitism. The only thing you overcame to accomplish your goal was halacha. Jews have been doing that for centuries, usually just before they completely assimilate into secular society and fade away.

Joel: This may surprise you, but there are those who find the egalitarianization of Jewish ritual as wrong and non-halachic as you consider it right and proper. Why do liberals always insist that everyone else has to accept their changes, but they themselves refuse to accept the previously established traditions of others? Reply

Laura Ellen Truelove Sewanee, TN, USA September 21, 2010

A Beautiful Story The will to honor G-d is greater than any punishment imposed by the world! As He said to Joshua, "Be courageous. Be strong. The Lord your G-d is with you." Reply

Devorah Chicago September 19, 2010

Shofar Such a beautiful story. Thank you forever, to you who blew the shofar at the Kotel then. I am forever grateful! Reply

chaya yehudis dank melbourne, australia via September 18, 2010

Beautiful video And some people are talking about giving away a part of jerusalem? Reply

lea nyc September 17, 2010

My Family's History It warmed my heart with joy to watch this video. "Tales from the heart". Brought back memories of my uncles, aunts, cousins, parents, always talking with great pride about their struggles, their strength, weakness, & joy. Peace to all. Reply


SHOFAR it is good that the brave are remembered!!!!!!!! Reply

Joel September 17, 2010

beautiful bravery - thank you an inspiring story - but also sadly reminds a little of the Jewish "Women of the Wall" who are today not permitted to read and hold the Torah at our holiest place, may Klal Yisrael have blessings in the New Year. Reply

Judith Bernstein Flower Mound, TX September 17, 2010

Shofar As the First Woman who EVER blew a Shofar in a synagogue on Yom Kippur, I know the Strengths these men burnished.
The spirit comes to the one who creates the sounds the rest are commanded to listen to.
Baalat Tekkiah
Judith Bernstein Reply

Leon Chattah New York, NY September 16, 2010

Shofar at the Wall A beautiful, moving special. "Lets do not upset the Arabs" has sadly a long history. Just another mask for cowardice and antisemitism. Reply

Stephanie Davison, MI/USA September 16, 2010

Shofar at the Walll Excruciating to see those brave young men arrested for sounding the shofar. Shamefiul to even imagine such a gross antisemitic display! May G_d bless them all. Reply

Nora Cincinnati, OH via September 16, 2010

Shofar at the Wall I cannot wait to watch this entire special! Does anyone know when it will air?

These were brave, passionate and dedicated Jews! Reply

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