Simchat Torah & Shemini Atzeret

Simchat Torah & Shemini Atzeret Follow Sukkot on the Hebrew Calendar

Every year, Jews study the Torah in weekly portions, known as the Parsha. Simchat Torah is the day after Sukkot where we celebrate the renewal of the cycle for another year. The joyous holiday caps the holiday-filled month of Tishrei and we dance, drink and eat candy for almost two days!

Simchat Torah

Shemini Atzeret is a Jewish holiday. It directly follows the Jewish festival of Sukkot which is celebrated for seven days, and thus Shemini Atzeret is literally the eighth day. It is a separate—yet connected—holy day devoted to the spiritual aspects of the festival of Sukkot. Part of its duality as a holy day is that it is simultaneously considered to be both connected to Sukkot and also a separate festival in its own right. It is celebrated on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei in the Land of Israel.

Simchat Torah is one component of the Biblical Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret (Eighth Day of Assembly). The main celebrations of Simchat Torah take place in the synagogue during evening and morning services. In many congregations, this is the only time of year on which the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark and read at night. In the morning, the last parsha of Deuteronomy and the first parsha of Genesis are read in the synagogue (parsha meaning Chapter). When the Torah is brought out, we dance and rejoice!


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