Having a blast at Bondi Beach

Rabbi Eli Schlanger blowing the shofar at Bondi Beach. Photo: Noel Kessel

IF you forget to go to shul this Rosh Hashanah or just don’t have a chance to make it to synagogue, don’t fret: you can still hear the blowing of the shofar … but at an unlikely venue.

The inaugural Shofar by the Sea, to be held at Bondi Beach on Monday, September 14, will give members of the community the opportunity to hear Chabad Bondi’s Rabbi Yehoram Ulman blow the shofar and enjoy traditional apples and honey.

Rabbi Eli Schlanger, who is organising the event, said it is not for Jewish people that attend synagogue on Rosh Hashanah.

“The place to be on Rosh Hashanah is in synagogue,” Rabbi Schlanger told The AJN. “This is strictly for members of the community that slept in or didn’t look at the calendar.”

The idea came from a good friend of Rabbi Schlanger’s, Rabbi Yisrael Kugel of Upper West Side, Manhattan. He came up with the idea to do Shofar in the Park, in Central Park, which attracts hundreds of people every year.

Rabbi Schlanger said Bondi Beach is “no alternative to a shul but is famous for gatherings of the masses”.

“That is why on Rosh Hashanah, on September 14 at 5pm outside the Bondi Pavilion, Rabbi Ulman will blow a traditional Yemenite ram’s horn to awaken the souls of all those who care for a new start, a new relationship, with almighty God,” he said.

Stating that the shofar represents the cry of a child, Rabbi Schlanger said: “When a baby cries it’s a natural instinct of a parent to run over to the child, regardless of the reason of the cry, and to hug and kiss the child.

“By participating in the shofar mitzvah, in essence we are crying from the depth of our hearts to Hashem to forgive us for all our sins and to bless us with a happy new year.”

He added: “There is no doubt that when Hashem hears our cry, instinctively God will embrace us and bless us with all the good things which we pray for.”

Asked for his message to members of the community thinking about coming along to the event, Rabbi Schlanger replied: “Go to shul.”

For more information, visit www.shofarbythesea.com.