What was his crime?
In the aftermath of the Arab riots throughout Palestine in 1929, the British convened a commission of inquiry to investigate the cause of the unrest. The Shaw Commission's recommendations granted the Arabs absolute ownership of the Western Wall and adjacent property. Jews were forbidden to bring Torah scrolls to the Kotel, to pray loudly, or to blow the Shofar, so as not to offend the Arab population.
Despite this restriction, for the next seventeen years, the shofar was sounded at the Kotel every Yom Kippur. Shofars were smuggled in to the Kotel where brave teenagers defiantly blew them at the conclusion of the fast. Some managed to get away - others were captured and sent to jail for up to six months.
Six of these men are still alive.
Two weeks ago, these six men returned to the scene of their "crime". Armed with shofars, they recounted their individual stories and blew shofar again at the Kotel.
Their powerful and inspiring story is told in Echoes of a Shofar, the first installment in the "Eyewitness 1948" short film series produced by Toldot Yisrael and the History Channel. It is the centerpiece of an educational pilot program being developed with The iCenter and made possible through the generous support of the Jim Joseph Foundation.
Toldot Yisrael is a Jerusalem based nonprofit dedicated to recording and sharing the firsthand testimonies of the men and women who helped found the State of Israel. Over 300 video interviews have been conducted with those who were involved during the pre-State struggle and the momentous events of 1948. Our aim is to conduct hundreds more over the next several years – while it is still possible. The Eyewitness 1948 series will present stories that address the heroism of the era as well as the complex moral dilemmas confronted as the young nation battled for its existence. Toldot Yisrael’s footage will serve as primary source materials for the Israel Education curriculum, bringing to life the founding of the State of Israel for today’s young Jews.
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