A shofar is a trumpet made from the horn of a kosher animal, traditionally a ram, which is blown at certain Jewish festivals, but particularly on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. (This year Rosh Hashanah, which ushers in the High Holy Days, begins at sundown this Sunday.)
One hundred blasts are sounded on each of the two days of Rosh Hashanah (except when it falls on the Sabbath) as a reaffirmation of God’s sovereignty and kingship. The shofar is also blown at the end of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which concludes the High Holy Days.
The shofar figures prominently in the drama of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai in the book of Exodus. By sounding the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, Jews recall the appearance of God to Moses at Sinai and commit themselves anew to living their lives according to God’s Torah in the year to come.