A mascot is a symbol of school spirit for all schools and now students at the Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School have all kinds of school spirit, thanks to a brand new mascot.
On Tuesday, students met their new mascot, a ram. The animal was chosen because a ram's horn is used to make a shofar.
"It's a simple horn that is blown in the synagogue or temple on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and the end of Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) which are the Jewish high holidays," said Wilhelm. " It can not come from a live animal. The cartilage is taken out, it's hollowed . They slice off a piece and make a hole that they can blow from and then it's a simple wind instrument that you blow. There are simple sounds that are in a certain order in the synagogue or temple on Rosh Hashanah."
The idea to have a ram as a mascot came from KJDS student Dylan Kolnick who proposed the idea last year during a presentation to the school. School leaders spent the summer finding the costume and creating a logo. Students will get to name the ram.
As part of the mascot's unveiling, Rabbi Yossi Wilhelm from Chabad of Knoxville conducted a shofar factory teaching each student how to make their very own horn in honor of the upcoming Jewish New Year. They'll also be taught how to blow the shofar by another local Rabbi.
"It's a lot about them enjoying and appreciating what they're doing more than the knowledge," said Miriam Esther Wilhelm. "It's the experience and you know, it's important for them to have fun and enjoy it and internalize it and be happy with being Jewish and who they are. That's about what it is..more than the knowledge, the experience."