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Beware Imported Shofars!

Buy local, say Tel Aviv rabbis

Allison Hoffman
September 03, 2009

Are you in the market for a new shofar? Well, bear in mind that Tel Aviv’s Religious Council is warning customers against buying ram’s horns finished in either China or Morocco, which began exporting shofars to Israel last year. The Council’s members have lots of objections: the Chinese instruments are allegedly “smeared with pig fat,” according to one shofar distributor, while the ones from Morocco (identifiable by a silver ring on the mouthpiece, apparently) are glued with polyester, which somehow renders them halachically unacceptable, according to Ynet. One rabbi, Aryeh Levin, told the paper it wasn’t so much the production as the principle: “It’s disrespectful bringing a shofar prepared by an Arab on Shabbat into a synagogue.” He said he encouraged consumers to look for shofars produced under rabbinic supervision, but guess where the two biggest rabbinically supervised shofar factories in Israel happen to be? You got it: Tel Aviv, and neighboring Jaffa.

Allison Hoffman is a senior editor at Tablet Magazine. Her Twitter feed is @allisont_dc.