Shofar Factory draws crowd to Leesburg


Eight-year-old Jordan Kane sat on the curb, eating a honey stick. Earlier that day, her mother had brought Jordan and her brother to the parking lot of an ice skating rink in Leesburg to make a shofar.

At the rare in-person Jewish family activity, about 30 people gathered under a tent on Sept. 13 for the “Shofar Factory,” organized by Chabad of Loudoun County.

For Jordan and the other kids, it was a chance to turn a ram’s or goat’s horn into a functioning shofar.

With adults watching, they operated drills and sanders. Jordan said the task was pretty straightforward, but was a bit confused when she had to shellac the shofar’s exterior surface to give it a glossy finish.

“It was a little frustrating, but I got through it,” she said.

Jordan’s mother, Michelle Kane, said this was the first Jewish event her family had attended since the pandemic began.

“Honestly, I’ve never seen an opportunity for kids to make an actual shofar before,” said Kane, of Frederick.

Eddie Rogers of Owings Mills came with his three granddaughters to the event. Granddaughter Ella Holgate, 10, said she’s never made a shofar before and enjoyed the process.

“I think it’s really fun. Drilling it. Glossing it. Sandpapering it. It’s a lot of fun,” Ella said. “It’s not that hard. It might be for some people, but I think it’s pretty easy. And all ages can do it, really.”

Rabbi Chaim Cohen of Chabad of Loudoun County said the point of the event was to provide kids with an interactive and hands-on educational activity that ties in to the High Holidays.

“We have some interesting customs in our tradition,” Cohen said. “And if we don’t explain it, how are they going to know?”

The workshop was led by Rabbi Levi Raskin, director of Chabad Lubavitch of Maryland’s JCrafts program and a Rockville resident. Raskin said that shofar making helps to get kids involved in Jewish learning.

“The main thing is to bring the fun out of Judaism,” Raskin said of the workshop. “What’s more fun than [using] power tools to make a shofar?”

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