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Social Distancing For High Holy Days: Synagogues To Blast 'Shofar Wave' On LA Street Corners For Rosh Hashanah

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - Southern California's Jewish community is set to ring in the Jewish New Year with a new twist on an ancient tradition.

On Sunday, Sept. 20, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles along with IKAR will hold its first-ever "Shofar Wave", which will involve placing people on various street corners around L.A. and asking them to blow the shofar - a ram's horn used like a trumpet - to mark Rosh Hashanah.

Traditionally, synagogues across the city and the world would be packed for what is one of Judaism's high holy days, when religious leaders say synagogue attendance would be at its highest.

Ultra Orthodox Jewish man blows the Shof
Ultra Orthodox Jewish man blows the Shofar during a protest against the building company "Electra", which according to protesters plans the removal of ancient Jewish tombs to construct a new building, in Jaffa just south of Tel Aviv, on July 28, 2010. AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI (Photo credit should read MARCO LONGARI/AFP via Getty Images)

But due to L.A. County Department of Public Health coronavirus guidelines that prohibit large, in-person gatherings, Jewish Federation President & CEO Jay Sanderson says this year's holiday services will look very different.

"During these incredibly challenging times where most of our community is homebound, we are excited to partner with IKAR so that our entire community can share the mitzvah of hearing the sounds of the shofar in every neighborhood across our rich and diverse Jewish community," Sanderson said.

Starting at 3 p.m. on Rosh Hashanah, shofar blowers from around the city will stand on street corners near their respective synagogues and, in sequential order, blow the shofar to create a "wave" that will echo throughout the city "serving as a symbol of hope and renewal".

A map released by the organization shows cities across the Southland from Thousand Oaks to Pasadena to San Pedro planning to take part in the event.

In addition to L.A., similar events are being held in Washington, D.C. and other cities.

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