August 30, 2014
In this quiet, charming town in western Latvia, the sounds of children’s laughter emanate from the bright yellow building that serves as a library and community center here
But in the recent past, on a fall day that is fast approaching, a date on the Jewish lunar calendar, the First Day of the month of Tishrei, the sounds of the shofar would have been heard in this building, echoing through the streets and into the homes and into the hearts of the residents of the neighborhood.
The Rabbi or Cantor of the synagogue blasts the traditional, mesmerizing cadences from the shofar, the ram’s horn. The cry of the horn heralds the start Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The congregation stands quietly and listens attentively to the familiar and plaintive tones. The men and women pray for peace and for good health for themselves and for their children in the coming year.
Now, here in Kuldiga, (pop 13,500), the call of the shofar is heard no more.