Staff Report

Members of the Valley’s Jewish community gathered together in Hans Christian Andersen Park on Aug. 21, to hear the first Shofar blowing of the High Holy Days.

“If there was a temple locally where services could be held every day, the shofar (ram’s horn) would be blown every day for the Hebrew month of Elul, which began on August 21,” said Shoshanah Schwartz, a member of the Jewish community. “However, the local Jewish community does not have a temple, and holds services only twice a month.” 

Undeterred, the community’s new rabbi, Debi Lewis, organized the “Shofar Blowing” at the park. This was the official start of the High Holy Day season, which spans 10 days each fall during which Jews worldwide take stock of their lives and actions the past year and atone for missteps along the way.

“About 20 congregants attended, happy to see each other in person after months of Zoom services,” Schwartz said. “They socially distanced, wore masks and eagerly participated in the short service which consisted of blessings and Shofar blowing by Dr. Alan Hersh, the rabbi, and Dave Wong.” 

High Holy Day Services will be held via Zoom, starting on Erev Rosh Hashana on Sept. 18.  

For more information on the Santa Ynez Valley Jewish Community, visit, or call 805-693-4243.