Rezak watches Sanders attempt to blow the shofar(Daniella Cheslow)

Elul, the last month of the year on the Hebrew calendar, is often regarded as a time to prepare for the rigorous self-reflection that takes place on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Throughout the month, the shofar, or ram’s horn, is sounded to induce an appropriately wakeful frame of mind. And so, in order to get into the spirit of the High Holidays, Tablet Magazine’s Gabriel Sanders met up with an old family friend: lung specialist, Judaica collector, and expert shofar-blower Ira Rezak. The two discussed the shofar’s ritual significance, and then they settled in for a lesson in the difficult business of getting a shofar to sound the way it should.