The shofar, one of the earliest known musical instruments, is usually made from a ram's horn. Used in biblical times to signal important events, it is also blown on High Holy Days (10 days in the fall of the year). It is sounded many times during the services of Rosh ha-Shanah (the Jewish New Year) and once to conclude Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
The blasts of the instrument are meant to wake slumbering souls to review their actions of the past year, to make amends, and to renew their devotion to work for the social and communal good in the coming year. This shofar is of a form typical of central European instruments, with a straightened shaft and flattened mouthpiece. It belonged to Curator Cyrus Adler's grandfather, Leopold Sulzberger, who was born in Germany. Sulzberger arrived in the United States in 1838, and died in 1881.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
before 1838
Sulzberger, Leopold
Cotton States Exposition
Place Made
Physical Description
horn, ram (overall material)
overall: 3 1/2 in x 11 1/2 in x 1 in; 8.89 cm x 29.21 cm x 2.54 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of David Sulzberger, 1889
Expositions and Fairs
Cotton States and International Exposition
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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We need some very loud blasts on this shofar to wake the slumbering souls of us all, Jews and the Nations alike. Imagine if most of us reviewed our actions of the last year and made amends for our offenses that were malicious in intention or even hurtful through our carelessness in dealing with all the precious souls God loves. Imagine if most of us choose to work for the communal and social good in the year to come. Imagine and then act.

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