Simchat Torah, Hebrew for "rejoicing in the Law", celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah. It is a joyous festival, in which we affirm our view of the Torah as a tree of life and demonstrate a living example of never-ending, lifelong study. Simchat Torah immediately follows the eight-day festival of Sukkot. Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue seven times. During the Torah service, the concluding section of Deuteronomy (D'Varim in Hebrew) is read, and, immediately following, the opening section of Genesis, (B'reishit in Hebrew), is read.
SIMCHAT TORAH AT CONGREGATION EMETH
At Emeth, at Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) services, our two Torahs are removed from the ark and completely unrolled in front of everyone attending services. Congregants then dance around the room and sing with the Torahs. The scrolls are then rolled back onto their wooden shafts, with the re-rolling positioning them for us to begin reading the Torah from the beginning, and returned to the ark. Congregants of all ages enjoy dancing and signing on this joyous occasion.