Kudu is a blog dedicated to providing information on Yemenite shofars as well as other exotic shofars, including ibex, eland, gemsbok and large ram’s horn shofars.
My first shofar was a hefty, ugly, unpolished ram’s horn shofar with horrible tone that my grandmother bought me for my bar mitzvah. It’s almost impossible to get more than one note out of it, but I cherish it to this day, for sentimental reasons. When it’s time to play a shofar, I much prefer a long kudu shofar, half-polished, with a strident tone, that you can easily play several different notes on. The kind of shofar that leaves your arms and shoulders weary after a few minutes — but it’s worth it!
The goal of this blog is to help people around the world find the right shofar. We specialize in kudu and other “exotic” types of shofar horns, including eland, ibex, gemsbok and jumbo ram’s horn shofars. We are not involved in the type of super-exotic, completely non-kosher horns available from vendors like the Shofar Man.
Judaica webstores that offer shofars for sale typically present buyers with spectacular stock photos and a disclaimer, in small print, saying the photos are only illustrative, and are meant to give you a general idea of the shofar you will receive. But since most people planning to buy a shofar have a certain size, shape, color and finish in mind, we help point you to places where you can get a good sense of what’s available, without having to travel to Israel in search of a shofar store.
Even in Israel you won’t find a shofar store, and most Judaica stores have only a small selection, and may not have a Yemenite shofar at all. Online there are a small handful of vendors that specialize in shofars for sale; some are more reliable than others.
Of course on Amazon or eBay you can find shofars for sale that are posted individually to allow you to pick and choose, but buying a shofar from Amazon or eBay can be problematic.
Some people want a hefty, gnarly ram’s horn shofar with a natural finish. Others prefer a smoothly polished long Yemenite shofar with thin, even walls and a graceful look.
Although the typical ram’s horn shofar for sale in Israel is common and relatively simple to produce, we try to accommodate all tastes and traditions: straight, slightly bent or very bent; low or high pitch; weeping, echoing or deep undulating tones; natural, semi-polished or fully polished; black or brown; large or small.
Some prospective shofar buyers come looking for a traditional Jewish shofar they intend to use to sound the shofar on Rosh Hashanah. Others want a kosher shofar, but plan to blow it for inspiration and special occasions or events in addition to Rosh Hashanah. And some do not need a kosher shofar at all, but want an authentic shofar that comes close, such as a decorative shofar with silver plate design work.
Although some people immediately associate the shofar with the walls of Jericho, perhaps most powerful instance of the sounding of a shofar was during the receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Just as it inspired awe and fear at Mt. Sinai, historically the shofar was also used for various military purposes: summoning soldiers, frightening the enemy, announcing victory, rebellion or cease-fire or warning of enemy approach.
The shofar is frequently mentioned along with trumpets to mark significant festivals and worship occasions, e.g. when King David brought the Holy Ark to Jerusalem: “So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps” (Chronicles I 15:28).