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HOW JEWS ARE CHANGING


Their Differences in Customs Noticeable in New Year Ceremonial.
from the New York Tribune (Illustrated Supplement), Sep 4, 1904.

 

ORTHODOX.

 

REFORMED.

BLOWING THE SHOFAR IN A STRICTLY ORTHODOX HEBREW SYNAGOGUE AND IN A "REFORMED" ONE.

The celebration of the Jewish New Year 5665, on September 10, once more brings to mind the changes that are taking place in the manners and customs of the Jewish race in America, where the lack of any form of religious persecution is doing more to win the Jew from strict orthodoxy than all the cruel repressions of Europe could begin to effect.

The Jewish New Year is observed, in accordance with the injunction: "And in the seventh month on the first day of the month shall ye have a holy convocation; no servile work shall ye do; a day of blowing the cornet shall it be unto you." -- Numbers xix, i.

The cornet mentioned in the Bible is the ram's horn, or "shofar," and is used in all Jewish synagogues on the New Year. In the orthodox synagogue the man who has this duty must be an exceedingly strict Jew. He must not have shaved his beard. He must not have committed any offense which would bar him from this sacred office. If he has done such a trivial thing as smoking a cigar on the Sabbath, he would be barred.

When he is ready to blow the "shofar," he covers his head with the "tallith," a silken cloth, and takes his stand at the altar, besides the rabbi, and at certain places in the ceremony blows the solemn sounds. The congregation does not look toward him when the "shofar" is blown. This would be considered a sin. The man himself is so covered that his face cannot be seen. Only his hand holding the ram's horn is left uncovered.

But the man whose duty it is to blow the "shofar" in the reformed temple stands beside the rabbi, with bared head, and the congregation looks forward eagerly to the blowing of the ram's horn. In the orthodox synagogue the "shofar" is blown about thirty times, whereas it is blown but three times in the reformed.

In the orthodox church the rabbi must not shave his beard; he stands with a cap on his head and a "tallith" on his shoulders, similar to the one covering the head of the "shofar" blower, in the picture. In the reformed synagogue the rabbi stands with uncovered head, dressed as in any other minister of the Gospel. The congregation has to sit on hard benches in the orthodox synagogue, while in the up to date reformed sanctuary finely upholstered seats, similar to those in theatres, are used.   next ►►





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