The woman who conquered the shofar

Fiammetta Rocco has written a beautiful obituary in this week’s Economist of Jennie Litvack, a World Bank executive in Washington who made her voice heard blowing the shofar, the extremely resistant ram’s horn that is sounded on the Jewish New Year.

She resigned from the World Bank and joined the Adas Israel synagogue in Washington, dc, where in 1876 Ulysses S. Grant became the first American president to attend a service in a synagogue. There was meditation every Tuesday night, yoga every Wednesday night, lessons in Jewish mindfulness all through the week. But it was when she held aloft the shofar that she really found her voice.

After every morning service through the month of Elul, then through Rosh Hashanah—Jewish new year—on to Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, her friend, would call out: Tekiyah. She would respond with a single note…

Read on here.

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  • Una says:

    Very meaningful to me as it brings back wonderful memories of my days, and as a Christian, singing all the Jewish high holiday services in Julia Neuberger’s synagogue of the day in south London and hearing the very difficult shofar being played.

  • Armchair Bard says:

    She’s a marvel. Sir Adrian could have done with her for his recording of The Apostles.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Sean Connery says, “sho-far, sho good”.

  • AndrewB says:

    What a moving story and what a fine tone Jennie Litvack produced from the shofar.

  • Mark says:

    “There was meditation every Tuesday night, yoga every Wednesday night, lessons in Jewish mindfulness all through the week”

    For the benefit of non-Jewish readers – this is an American Reform “temple” that has very little to do with traditional Judaism.

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