Shofar Showcase

002Jon Lellelid, also known as the “Master Blaster,” blows the shofar for the Sha’arei Tikvah Rosh Hashanah service held each year. This warm and eclectic volunteer has been performing since 2003 at Temple De Hirsh Sinai. Lellelid holds degrees in Music Education and Trombone Performance, but his musical talent lay dormant until 2002 when he was approached about playing the shofar for services. Since then, he’s been provided with a number of opportunities in the community from Sha’arei Tikvah to Marriage Equality rallies in front of the Legislative Building in Olympia.

“I practice every day and have a good set of lungs,” Lellelid says with a laugh. “I often times go to a field just behind my office building in Marysville to practice. I have been mistaken for a moose once or twice.”

The shofar is made from a ram, an African antelope or Oryx horn. The horns are dipped in a vat and allowed to “cook” for about five hours to boil the sinew out. Lellelid owns four shofars, all are different shapes and sizes and each comes with its own unique story. He notes that shofars play better in moist air and require kosher salt and a bathtub for cleaning.

“Not all shofars are created equal,” says Lellelid. “Some are harder to play than others. But when you get it right, it’s really a religious experience.” His favorite call is Tekiah Gedolah during the services, and he can hold it for 22 seconds.

“Jon brings enthusiasm, a sense of humor, and a gift for connection with others to his role as our shofar blower at the Jewish New Year; we are so fortunate to have him,” says Marjorie Schnyder, LICSW Director of Family Life Education. “And beyond Rosh Hashanah, Jon and his wife Linda join us at other events and have deepened their connection with the Sha’arei Tikvah community.”

Sha’arei Tikvah is a chance for all members of the community to worship and celebrate together, young and old, whatever their background, abilities and need – to share the power and joy of holiday traditions. The services, including Rosh Hashanah, are designed to be meaningful for individuals with developmental disabilities or persistent mental illness, as well as their families and friends.

“I enjoy the audience participation and have grown to know many of the Sha’arei Tikvah participants,” says Lellelid. “It really warms my heart when they remember me. I’ve been brought to tears many times.”

Lellelid was featured on public radio before blowing the shofar at Sha’arei Tikvah Rosh Hashanah.

IMG_8896-2By Leslie Sugiura
Savvy cook, extreme clam digger, urban gardener and mom to Stella the dog are just a few of the titles Leslie Sugiura keeps in rotation. She’s also the Director of Special Events for JFS where she spearheads the annual Community of Caring Luncheon.

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