Blasts for Justice: 6th-grader Micah Blay blows shofar at Supreme Court


photo courtesy of Dana Marlow

Micha Blay blasts his shofar in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Rosh Hashanah.

Eva Bard, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Hundreds of visitors listened intently as sixth-grader Micah Blay blasted the sounds of the shofar on the steps of the Supreme Court. Already an unusual start to the Jewish New Year, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, which occurred on Erev Rosh Hashanah, brought heavy grief across the country and impacted the way many families observed the holiday.

“It’s [blowing the shofar] also like a very big call to action; like a wake-up, rise up, pay attention,” Blay’s mother Dana Marlow said. “And I kind of felt like right now in our societies, history and where we are, that we really do need to listen to that shofar blast for a call to action and to wake up and try to follow in the very big steps of Justice Ginsburg collectively.” 

On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, Blay drove with his family to honor Justice Ginsburg at the Supreme Court. Blay stayed for about an hour, where he blew the shofar eight times, repeating the sequence of sounds for new crowds that approached. 

“In the moment I was blowing the shofar, I was feeling good that I was doing a mitzvah for thousands of people all around,” Blay said.

Blay has been sounding the same shofar since he learned how to in first grade but perfected the sound last year at school. Nevertheless, Blay said that he was “tired” and “parched” after blowing it so many times. 

Marlow recorded and posted the video of Blay blowing the shofar on several social media platforms and received over 156,000 views on Facebook. Soon, Blay’s shofar blowing gained the attention of many news outlets, including domestic and international newspapers such as The Washington Post and The Times of Israel. 

Although Blay did not intend to go viral, he likes keeping track of how many views his video has.

In addition to blowing the shofar, he helped his mom distribute 300 rocks. Prior to going to the Supreme Court, Marlow posted her plan to visit the Supreme Court on Facebook, asking if anyone would like her to put a rock down for them, following Jewish mourning tradition. Marlow received 250 replies from people in places as close as Rockville to as far as Australia requesting she place a rock for them. 

That morning, Marlow collected 300 rocks, one for each individual who responded on her Facebook, plus 50 extra. When they got to the court, they spread them out around the trees of the court.

Marlow also brought a dozen copies of the Mourners Kaddish to hand out to anyone who wanted to participate in reciting the prayer for Justice Ginsburg. About every 25 minutes, a new crowd joined her and Blay in the prayer.

“For us, we do drive on Shabbat. We do drive on Rosh Hashanah. We don’t go to services. But to us, that was the most meaningful service we could have ever done,” Marlow said.