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Thursday, July 24, 2014

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Associated sets shofar-blowing record

Tags: Jewish learning Associated shofar
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Emma-Belle Freid, a Grade 2 student at Associated Hebrew Schools’ Kamin Education Centre in Thornhill, blows a shofar as part of the school’s shofar ensemble that set the Guinness World Record for the most shofars blown at the same time. [Carolyn Blackman photo]

TORONTO — Associated Hebrew Schools blew into the Guinness World Records book last week with Project Blastoff, the largest-ever shofar ensemble.
Students and staff gathered at Associated’s Kamin Education Centre in Thornill and blew a total 1,406 shofars for five minutes, the required amount of time to set the record. They beat the previous record of 790 shofars.
They were accompanied by the Hallelujah Drummers, music teacher Yehoshua Lavner, and Cantor Eric Moses of Beth Sholom Synagogue.
Eric Golombek, the principal of Associated’s Posluns Education Centre on Neptune Drive, who organized the Sept. 23 event, said the school decided to seek the record about five years ago, when a Grade 4 student asked if Associated could be the school that blew the most shofars.
But Rosh Hashanah had never been late enough in the school calendar to have sufficient time to prepare – until this year. “We waited until the time was right, and we set out to do it.”
Golombek said that members of Tzivos Hashem, a Chabad children’s club, came in and helped every child make a kosher shofar out of ram horns, which Tzivos Hashem supplied.
“The big challenge, though, was learning to blow,” he said. “The students worked hard at it.”
Mark Smiley, Associated’s director of education, said the kids blew the shofars, not only to set the record, but also to “unite, to rise and improve the world. We blow our shofars to wake us up to do good and to be respectful of the gifts that God has bestowed on us.”
The witnesses – Guinness requires them for record-setting events – were Vaughan city councillor Alan Shefman and Rabbi Chaim Strauchler of Shaarei Shomayim Congregation.

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