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Over 100 shofar blowers gathered Wednesday at a first-of-its-kind and somewhat ear-splitting conference for men who desperately needed to practice and receive their colleagues' encouragement before the moment of truth - Sunday, when they will put the traditional ram's horn to their lips and coax from it the plaintive calls that form one of the most moving moments of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

The shofar blowers had another special reason to gather: They are graduates of the first shofar-blowing course ever organized by the Chief Rabbinate. The course included a meticulous study of the laws pertaining to the shofar and a lesson by Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, as well as several useful tips from experienced blowers of the ceremonial horn.

And the sound of the shofar is not the only sign of fall in the air. Another is the blooming of the tall, slender sea squill, with its rows of tiny white flowers, while a third is the forecast for occasional showers over the coming days. After four months of hot, dry weather, moist air is to make its seasonal debut over the holiday, especially at night.

Thursday and Friday will be partly cloudy with a drop in temperatures and a chance of drizzles in the morning in the north and along the coast. Saturday will warm up again, but the most significant change will come on Sunday, which the meteorological service predicts will be much cooler, with local showers in the north and center of the country.