Photo Credit: Courtesy
Dr. Ivan Mauer

I spent this past Rosh Hashana at the home of my son and daughter-in-law, Zevie and Yael Schwartz. Zevie had told me that he was going to be the Baal Tokea, and as I was packing to go to them, I suddenly noticed my husband’s shofar on our bookcase. The shofar brought back memories of Ivan blowing the shofar for me the whole month of Elul. Every year without fail I knew I would hear that shofar. It’s been now over 12 years since it hasn’t been blown. I wondered, does a shofar dry up from lack of use?

I called Zevie and asked him if he would like me to bring Ivan’s shofar for him to blow. He told me that he has two shofars, but it can never hurt to have an extra one. So I carefully wrapped it in towels and took it along. When I gave it to him, he tried it out and I was very happy to hear it still had a loud cry. Ivan’s shofar was still very much up to par.


The two days of Rosh Hashana were beautiful for me. The davening was very special, and inspiring, and the shofar blowing was excellent. Of course the food was delicious as it always is at Yael’s house. One of their sons and his new bride were also with us and that made it even more special for me.

As I was packing to return home to Jerusalem, I realized that I hadn’t asked Zevie if it was Ivan’s shofar that he had blown. And then he told me the following story. Very early on the first day of Rosh Hashana, as Zevie was just leaving his house, the Chabad rabbi came to him holding his shofar with a deep crack in it. He had no idea how that had happened and it was his only one. He asked Zevie if he could possibly spare one for him to use both days. Zevie immediately gave him one of his. At least that is what he thought. Later on when it came time to blow the shofar and Zevie took out his two shofars, he realized that it was Ivan’s shofar that he had given the rabbi. It was an honest mistake and Zevie knew that I wouldn’t mind.

It was just after Zevie finished relaying that to me that the doorbell rang and it was the rabbi returning the shofar. He said, “You have no idea what a big zechus you had. Not only was I able to blow shofar for my entire congregation both days, but I then went out to the park, and I blew the shofar there and crowds formed around me, Jews on bicycles, in running shorts, from near and far they came, and they all asked if I would return the next day, which I did. It was a very big zechus for you.” Zevie replied, it wasn’t my zechus, it was my mother’s and her husband’s in heaven.

When I put the shofar back on the shelf, I looked heavenward and I said to Ivan, your shofar was blown once again, and I’m sure that it has given your neshama an aliyah.


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Naomi Klass Mauer is the co-publisher of The Jewish Press.