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Literally, horn or trumpet. Traditionally the curved horn of a ram, the animal that Abraham sacrificed instead of his son, Isaac. In the Bible, the shofar is blown to announce all-important occasions. The blast of the ram’s horn proclaimed the Jubilee year, the beginning of the Sabbath, the festivals and the New Moon. The shofar is blown during the month of Elul preceeding the High Holy Days as a call to repentance. It is an essential part of the Rosh ha-Shanah services, and the Yom Kippur day of fasting and prayer ends with the sound of the shofar.

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