SOURCE: National Jewish Outreach Program

September 13, 2005 13:18 ET

Paul Shaffer to Sound Off at Shofar Blowing Contest in New York City

Late Night Music Icon Shaffer Will Join Music Legend Kenny Vance, Modeling Industry's Marlene Wallach and Other NY Notables to Judge the Finals of the Great Shofar Blast Off in Herald Square on September 22

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 13, 2005 -- The National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP) announced today that Paul Shaffer, Music Director for the "Late Show," will join pop musician Kenny Vance and Marlene Wallach, President of Wilhelmina Kids and Creative Management modeling agency, on a panel of judges for the Great Shofar Blast Off! Also on the panel will be Amos Alter Esq. of Troutman Sanders, LLP serving as Chief Judge. The finals of this nationwide search for the best shofar blower in America will take place on September 22, at noon in Herald Square Park, NYC.

"We are thrilled to herald the Jewish New Year with this event and to have such wonderful NY'ers on our panel of judges," said Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald, Founder and Director of NJOP. "Paul Shaffer and Kenny Vance will pay special attention to melody. Marlene Wallach will scrutinize performance and Amos Alter, Esq. will lend his expertise as a Baal Tokeah (shofar blower) and 'judge' as we seek to crown the best shofar blower in America."

Shofar blowing finalists from around the U.S. will be selected (based on video tape submissions) and flown into NYC for the live, public event on September 22nd. The panel of judges will evaluate the finalists' skills based on clarity of sound, accuracy according to Jewish law, length of blast and overall performance.

"We have been thrilled by the response to the Great Shofar Blast Off," continued Buchwald. "It is clear from the verbal portion of each entry, that the shofar not only symbolizes new beginnings but it inspires true spirituality among those that sound the shofar and those that listen. In advance of the Jewish high holidays, we are taking the shofar from the synagogue to the streets. We hope that the Great Shofar Blast Off will awaken in Jews the desire to attend their local High Holiday Beginners Services."

Paul Shaffer has been David Letterman's musical director and sidekick for over 21 years. Shaffer holds two honorary doctorate degrees and was recently inducted into the National Black Sports And Entertainment Hall of Fame.

Kenny Vance is best known for his roles as a member of Jay and the Americans, as Music Director for "Saturday Night Live" and most recently as the lead singer in The Planotones. Vance was inducted into the Vocal Hall of Fame.

About the contest:

For thousands of years, the shofar -- an ancient wind instrument made from a ram's horn -- has been used to rouse Jews to repent and strive for new heights of spirituality. When blown correctly, the sound is truly awe-inspiring. But blowing a shofar is no easy task.

NJOP challenged shofar blowers to "blow them away" by submitting a video tape, DVD, or video clip showcasing their shofar blowing skills. The Great Shofar Blast Off is aimed, in part, at inspiring unaffiliated Jews to participate in NJOP's High Holiday Beginners Services which are held at synagogues across North America.

Deadline for entries was August 31, 2005. Complete rules and the entry form and information about NJOP's Beginners Services can be found at

Herald Square Park is located on 34th Street (between Sixth and Broadway) in New York City and is managed by the 34th Street Partnership (34SP.) The National Jewish Outreach Program has worked closely with 34SP in planning this event.

About the National Jewish Outreach Program

Founded in 1987 by Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald to address the critical issues of assimilation and lack of Jewish knowledge, NJOP is now one of the largest and most successful Jewish outreach organizations in the world. To date, more than 850,000 people have benefited from NJOP's innovative, free programs which have been held in 3,630 locations -- including synagogues, community centers, military bases and college campuses -- in all 50 states, nine Canadian provinces and 30 countries around the world. (

About the 34th Street Partnership

Founded in 1992, the 34th Street Partnership is a coalition of property owners, tenants, and city officials working to revitalize the District with major streetscape improvements, special security and sanitation services. Encompassing a 32-block grid of prime midtown Manhattan real estate -- from 31st to 35th Street, and from Tenth Avenue to the west side of Park Avenue -- the 34th Street District is packed with: more than 500 stores, including the Manhattan Mall, H&M, and Victoria's Secret; over 150 restaurant establishments, such as the Tupelo Grill, Tir na nOg Bar & Grill, and Nick & Stef's Steak House; and scores of world famous tourist attractions such as Macy's Herald Square, Madison Square Garden and the Empire State Building.

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