And it came to pass that a slow, ecclesiastical drip of rabbinic steroids has kept the Sons of Israel schul in Dubois, Pennsylvania going. No doubt, small town congregations have been losing altitude, as their offspring issue forth to big cities.
In any case, an ordained rabbi, plying his rabbinic CPR, comes once a month and on the High Holy Days from Ohio, where he is a full-time therapist. And this past Yom Kippur, he came with his wife and two sons, 15 and 17. As the Concluding Service crescendoed to its breath-defying long note on the shofar, the rabbi bulged his cheeks with air, pursed his lips and blew into the ram’s horn…nothing, not even an off-note squeak. He tried three times and, relaxing, said, ‘Fifteen years I’ve been blowing this particular shofar and this never happened”.
As he gathered himself for another attempt, his 15-year-old son with a mouthful of braces piped up, “You want me to try?” Still soundless, his father crooked his finger and, with an “OK, wiseguy” look, motioned to him to come up.
He handed the ram’s horn over. The son, with an “OK, old man” grin, blew. There was a spark of a note that faded into a rush of air. He gathered himself for another try and…who would believe it…the note caught and he held it with seeming ease for 15 seconds. When done, he grinned again, handed the shofar back to his father and said,”You mean like that?”
And he walked from the bima, exchanging a couple of fist bumps on his victory lap back to his seat.