Friday, August 10, 2012

In Poland the "Shulklapper" Hammered Home the Message of the Month of Elul

Back when there were no alarm clocks (remember them?) Jews in Poland relied on the gabbai's Shulklapper to wake them up for the Selichot prayers.

What exactly was this instrument used to klap -- knock -- on the door in order to make sure everyone got to shul -- synagogue -- on time?

Nothing more than a hammer for hammering home the message "it's time to get up and pray."

The connection to today? While we no longer knock messages into our children's heads, the underlying beauty of Rosh Hashana and its preceding days should be gently conveyed. Rosh Hashana is much more than an occasion to eat, drink and be merry. The Jewish New Year is a time for contemplation, a time to review what we've done wrong and how we can better ourselves.

Want a more practical, hard hitting message? How about a real-time wake-up call? The school year is just is around the corner. Kids rely on the pleasing alarm tones of their mobile phones to wake them up. Will that be enough after the long summer break?  It's hard to get back into an early morning routine. Perhaps a little "klap" on the door will help?

Synagogue Photo Credit 
Hammer photo credit

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