Buying a shofar from Israel: What you see is what you get?

 Shofar  Comments Off on Buying a shofar from Israel: What you see is what you get?
Jun 012015

The big problem with buying a shofar online is that you’re in for a surprise. It could be a pleasant surprise, or you might be a bit disappointed. The way most online shofar dealers operate is that they post dozens of spectacular stock photos of various shofars, with a disclaimer in small print saying, “For illustrative purposes only.”

You select a size range (e.g. 15-16 inches) a color preference (brown or black) and the type of polishing (natural, half-polished, fully polished). When the order comes in, the dealer goes into a storeroom and pulls out a shofar that fits that approximate description.

But there are a few problems with this system. One is that shofars are not brown or black. Typically a brown shofar is brown with dark brown rings or black streaks or even a hint of ruddy red. Likewise a black shofar will not be jet black, but will have a lot of brown in it. So what you get is somewhat of a mystery until it arrives in the mail.

Yemenite shofar horns often have spectacular coloring, including jet black, tawny lion, desert sand and a reddish pearl. But when you find a kudu shofar for sale online, you are expected to simply select “black” or “brown.”

If you happen to be in Israel, you can find plenty of shofar sellers, where you can pick and choose. Most of them will even let you blow the shofar to check the tone and pitch. But online shofar shoppers just get very vague selections that make the purchase largely guesswork.

That didn’t seem like the right way to buy a shofar, so we started a sister site, called Kudu Shofar, that specializes in Yemenite shofars and allows you to see exactly what you get.

Every rams horn and kudu horn is painstakingly measured, categorized and described to allow buyers to choose the exact size, look and sound of the shofar they hope to receive.

Where to buy a shofar online

 Shofar  Comments Off on Where to buy a shofar online
Feb 132015

Our specialty is tallit and tzitzit, but periodically our customers ask if we sell shofars as well, or if we can recommend where to buy a ram’s horn or Yemenite shofar. For a long time we simply referred them to other Judaica webstores that sell shofars.

Go to shofar web store >>

Where to buy a shofarBut something always bothered me: All of the webstores that offer shofars for sale use stock photos and write a note saying they are merely for illustrative purposes. In other words, what you see is not what you get. You order a ram’s horn shofar or a kudu shofar, specify the size you want and choose black or brown, and they simply go and pull a shofar off the shelf and stick it in a box. (By the way, black and brown is a bit misleading, because most shofars are a combination of both.)

Of course one option is to buy a shofar on eBay or Amazon. But a lot of people don’t feel comfortable working with eBay and Amazon sellers, who are not always solidly established, and since a portion of the sale goes to eBay or Amazon, prices may be higher.

I knew that with a bit of time and effort, we could create a high caliber shofar sales webstore that would enable the prospective buyer to see the shofar in details and choose exactly what he wants. So we started selling ram’s horn shofars on a sister site called Kudu Shofar.

Every time a new shipment comes in, we photograph, number, measure and catalog every shofar individually. Some people want a hefty shofar with a gnarly shape and a natural finish. Others would like to buy a smoothly polished shofar with an elegant shape.

To help prospective buyers find a shofar that has just the right the look, feel and sound, we provide a number of high resolution images of every shofar and write detailed descriptions of the shape, color and sound.

You can also find a wealth of information on both ram’s horn and Yemenite shofars on the blog and the buyer’s guide.