SHULKLAPPER (Yid. "the knocker who calls to the synagogue"), in Ashkenazi countries one of the sextons of the synagogue. Although the office is found from the High Middle Ages, its development is best known from Eastern Europe, where the sexton awakened the people with hammer knocks for the morning prayers, saying: "Jews, this morning arise for the service of the Creator." The shulklapper also announced the beginning of the Sabbath and holidays. In the last week before Rosh Ha-Shanah and also during the Ten Days of Penitence between Rosh Ha-Shanah and the Day of Atonement, the shulklapper announced the Seliḥot service. The number of knocks and their order differed according to the occasion and local custom. Other tasks of the shulklapper were to summon people for communal meetings, banquets, and funerals. (Natan Efrati)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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