Friday, September 17, 2010

Ne'ilah Shofar in Mandate Palestine

Click below to watch a short documentary about some Jewish teenagers who defied British policemen to blow the shofar at the conclusion of Yom Kippur in Mandate days.

Their story is interesting in the extreme, though I'm not convinced it was worth the risk or the effort. Blowing shofar at the end of Yom Kippur is deeply significant, of course, but its it required by Jewish law? Are we to put ourselves at risk to do it? Or does the symbolic value of performing this rite at the Kotel, and sticking a finger, so to speak, in the eyes of the Mandatory authorities, outweigh everything?

Are there parallels between the inspiring acts of defiance depicted here and the attempts made in our day by Jewish women to read the Torah or to pray as a congregation at the kotel? In 1930 the British arrested shofar blowing Jews at the kotel; today the Israelis arrests Torah reading women there: Is this analogous? I don't know, but what seems an unmistakable theme of this video is an idea propagated by men like Malcom X: Talk takes you only so far. No one really respects you until you take action and stand up for yourself.

Search for more information about Jewish courage at

No comments: