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Rosh Hashanah 

  Yom Kippur Sukkot    Simchat Torah RSVP 

The special joy of this holiday celebrates the conclusion—and restart—of the annual Torah-reading cycle

These two days constitute a major holiday, when most forms of work are prohibited. On the preceding nights, women and girls light candles, reciting the appropriate blessings, and we enjoy nightly and daily festive meals, accompanied by kiddush. We are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors (unless it is also Shabbat).

The first day, Shemini Atzeret, features the prayer for rain, officially commemorating the start of the Mediterranean rainy season, and the Yizkor.

The highlight of the second day, Simchat Torah (“The Joy of the Torah”), is the hakafot, held on both the eve and the morning of Simchat Torah, in which we march and dance with the Torah scrolls around the reading table in the synagogue. (In many synagogues, hakafot are conducted also on the eve of Shemini Atzeret.)

On this joyous day when we conclude the Torah, it is customary for every man to take part in the celebration by receiving an aliyah. The children, too, receive an aliyah!

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