Simchat Torah – The Joy of the Torah at Belsize Square Synagogue

Ending the yearly cycle of reading the five books of Moses and starting anew is celebrated the holiday of Shemini Atzeret the Eighth day of Assembly after Sukkot, a biblical festival which in modern days is combined with the Joy of the Torah, Simchat Torah and which certainly has the joy of finishing a month of celebrations that started with Rosh Hashanah the New Year in the Jewish calendar. Part of this celebration is dancing with the Torah, drinking and singing. Also going around the Bimah, the prayer table, usually at the centre of a Synagogue (in ours it’s moved from the front).

Seven circling processions [Hakafot] are made with everyone participating in carrying around the scrolls.

In our Synagogue also the scroll itself circles the Bimah. When it is fully opened and held carefully with white gloves by all those present.

Belsize Square Synagogue is an all inclusive and active place where even an autistic boy led the Shema Israel prayer, which was the only moment you could here a pin drop.

And here we are to start the new cycle of a year with so much to look forward to. Hopefully also some political stability in the UK and around the globe and peace so much needed.

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