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The prized shofars (shofarot in Hebrew) of the Bar-Sheshet and Ribak families have a long and proud pedigree, reflecting the epic history of the Jewish people traveling throughout the diaspora and finally returning home to Israel.

The Bar-Sheshet family tradition began in 14th century Spain, in the time of the great rabbi, Yitzhak Bar-Sheshet (also known as the “Ribash”). Amid events of immense strife for the Jewish community in Spain, the rabbi’s son began to carve fine combs and teaspoons from horn, and then concentrated on the production of shofars – a difficult but rewarding art. Following the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492, the Bar-Sheshet family settled in Morocco, and continued to produce shofars and hone their craft for centuries.

In 1947, another great chapter of the Bar-Sheshet family story began, as Meir Bar-Sheshet immigrated to Israel on the Exodus – a voyage that has now gone down in history and been immortalized on film and in print. While held in a camp for displaced persons, awaiting permission to travel to his ancient homeland, Meir fashioned a shofar using only his bare hands and what little materials he could find nearby. The next year, 1948, he would set up a real workshop in Haifa, and begin the Bar-Sheshet family business in earnest.

 

Meanwhile, in the little Polish town of Wlodawa, another family tradition was beginning to take form. Like the son of the Ribash, Rabbi Yacov Rossman also began by making fine combs and teaspoons from horn, and then moved on to crafting shofars. His talent was so exceptional that his shofars won acclaim from Jewish communities all over Poland.

In 1927, Rabbi Rossman immigrated to Palestine, and became the first shofar maker in the then-new city of Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city of the modern age. The Rabbi did not have any children, so he decided to pass on his knowledge and skills to his cousin, Avraham Ribak, who has continued the family tradition in the very same place where Rabbi Rossman started to make his first shofar on Israeli soil.

Today, Eli Ribak, the son of Avraham Ribak, and Zvi Bar-Sheshet, the son of Meir Bar-Sheshet, are managing the company in collaboration. These two long family traditions of devotion to a unique craft can be clearly seen in the beauty of their shofars, which are sought-after by religious communities and collectors worldwide.

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Meir Bar-Sheshet tests a shofar with neighborhood children watching

View Hebrew Version Here

 

 

 

Avraham Ribak telling about the different types of Shofars
אברהם ריבק ז”ל מספר על הסוגים השונים של השופרות
Watch on YouTube: Link     (Hebrew, COL)

 

Avraham and Eli Ribak telling about the families’ traditions
אברהם ריבק ז”ל ואלי, בנו – ממשיך השושלת, מספרים על המסורות המשפחתיות
Watch on YouTube: Link     (English, JPost)

 

The story of the Bar-Sheshet family’s shofar-making tradition
סיפור שושלת משפחת ברששת כפי שתועד במצלמות מבט בתאריך ה-06/09/10
Watch on YouTube: Link     (Hebrew, Mabat)

 

Avraham and Eli Ribak telling about the families’ traditions
אברהם ריבק ז”ל ואלי, בנו – ממשיך השושלת, מספרים על המסורות המשפחתיות
Watch on YouTube: Link     (Yiddish)