RAMOT NAFTALI, Israel (Reuters) – The piercing note of a shofar – a ram’s horn used in Jewish religious ceremonies – cuts through the air in the mountains of Galilee.
Here in northern Israel, Shepherdess Jenna Lewinsky herds a flock of Jacob sheep, pictured here, as a religious vocation.
With up to six horns on each animal, the breed is ideally suited for making the traditionally blown horn during the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.
Jacob Sheep’s spotted breed was bred in England in the 17th and 18th centuries, and this herd was brought from Canada to Israel by Lewinsky in 2016.
But sheep have been recorded since ancient times across the Middle East, and the name of the modern breed echoes the ancient biblical story of Genesis in which Patriarch Jacob took “every spotted and spotted sheep” as salary of his father-in-law, Laban.
Turning the horns of her flock into shofars is part of God’s plan, says Lewinsky, who calls herself a “traditional, God-fearing Jew.”
“Jacob Sheep’s horns can probably be transformed anywhere in the world, but what makes the horns special is that we transform them in Israel, which gives them holiness,” she said. .
Robert Weinger, a shofar maker who works with Lewinsky farm horns, said a ram’s horn made from the breed can sell for between $ 500 and $ 20,000 or more, depending on its sound quality, because it produces a wider range of musical notes than other shofars.
Editing by Stephen Farrell and William Maclean