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Sh’mini Atzeret/Simchat Torah

September 30 – October 1, 2018 [5779]

Sh’mini Atzeret is a solemn time for reflecting on the seven previous days of the festival of Sukkot. It also is one of the four times during the year when we mourn together (Yizkor) and recite the memorial prayers in remembrance of those whom we have loved and lost. Simchat Torah is a joyful celebration, often symbolized by dancing. Hebrew for “Rejoicing in the Law,” Simchat Torah also celebrates completion of reading the Book of Deuteronomy (the fifth book of the Torah) and starting from the beginning with the Book of Genesis.

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In Israel and in many communities around the world, Simchat Torah is celebrated on the same day as Sh’mini Atzeret, making them a one-day festival.

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