Nestled in the leafy heart of New York City’s Central Park, the Naumberg Bandshell has been home to countless classical and popular music concerts since it was built in 1923 as part of a program to bring culture to New York’s masses.

But on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, sophistication gives way to simplicity as hundreds gather there to hear the blasts of a lone shofar (ram’s horn).

“Shofar in the Park,” to take place on Monday, Sept. 14, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., is the brainchild of Rabbi Yisrael and Chanchy Kugel, co-directors of Chabad’s West Side Center for Jewish Life on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “The idea is to allow as many people as possible to observe the central mitzvah of Rosh Hashanah,” says the rabbi. “It’s Central Park—an open and neutral place where every person is welcome. It doesn’t matter if you have prior Jewish education. It’s irrelevant if you pay dues; you are welcome to come as you are and hear the shofar.”

In the years since the Kugels first launched “Shofar in the Park” in 2011, the rabbi says the idea has been adapted by Chabad couples in dozens of other cities—from Madison, Wis., to Sydney, Australia (where it’s called “Shofar at the Sea”).

The holiday begins this year at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 13, and ends on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 15.

He says the program is purposely kept simple.

“For the first half-hour, people mill around and get into the mood,” he explains. “We have easels set up displaying inspirational quotes related to Rosh Hashanah and shofar. There are also tables where people can partake in pomegranate juice and traditional apples dipped in honey.”

Then, following a brief introduction by the rabbi, the shofar is blown by acclaimed trombonist Haim Avitzur, noted for having premiered a trombone/shofar concerto.

The first event was attended by approximately 400 people. The rabbi says attendance has grown by around 100 every year, leading him and his wife to prepare for as many as 1,000 participants this coming Rosh Hashanah.

This year’s gathering brings added significance as Jewish communities worldwide celebrate the year of Hakhel, a time to promote Jewish unity and learning. Throughout the year synagogues, Jewish organizations and private individuals will host communal gatherings for men, women and children dedicated to encouraging the observance and study of Torah.

The rabbi also points out that “Shofar in the Park” is not intended to replace the traditional services. Rather, he says: “For a person who is not about to enter a synagogue, this is an open, soulful and deeply personal way of experiencing the essence of Rosh Hashanah.”

For a list of Rosh Hashanah services and related programs near you, visit the locator here.