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Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah 2018
September 30 - October 2
Following the seven joyous days of Sukkot, we come to the happy holiday of Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah.
In the diaspora, the first day is known by its biblical name, Shemini Atzeret. We still dwell in the sukkah, but without a blessing. Yizkor, the memorial for the departed, is also said on this day.
The second day is known as Simchat Torah, during which we complete and immediately begin the annual Torah reading cycle. This joyous milestone is marked with dancing, traditionally following seven circuits known as hakafot, as the Torah scrolls are held aloft.
Both days are celebrated by nightly candle lighting, festive meals at both night and day, and desisting from work. In Israel, the entire holiday is compacted into one heady 24-hour period.
NOTE: The Jewish calendar date begins at sundown of the night beforehand. Thus all holiday observances begin the night before, as listed. The exception to this rule is most fast days, which begin at dawn of the date listed (aside for Tisha b’Av and Yom Kippur which also begin the night before). Jewish calendar dates conclude at nightfall. For more information click here.