Shemini Atzeret + Simchat Torah | October 15-17, 2014 | October 4-6, 2015


What is Shemini Atzeret?

Falling just after Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret the holiday on which Jews start praying for rain.

What is Simchat Torah?

It’s the holiday that celebrates the conclusion of the yearly cycle of reading the Torah, after which we begin anew reading the Five Books of Moses, starting from the first chapter of Genesis.


A Simchat Torah Story From 1663 London

Samuel Pepys’ account of stumbling upon a lively synagogue service

Remember the Often Invisible Non-Jews Who Help the Jewish World Function

We tend to overlook the gentiles who keep synagogues running. As we begin the Torah anew, let’s acknowledge our debt to them.

Inside the Artist’s Studio: Creating a Beautiful New Home for the Torah

Video: Judaica designer Alexander Gruss on Simchat Torah, the legacy of the Holocaust, and the value of handmade objects

Will Bob Dylan Win the Nobel Prize?

Plus the swastika comes to Twitter

A Look Back at a Soviet Simchat Torah

An unlikely celebration from Moscow–40 years ago

A Convert’s First Simchat Torah

When the holiday turned my synagogue into a chaotic nightclub, I finally felt like part of the Jewish community

How Tisha B’Av Helped Me Heal

Cancer, and a year of chemotherapy, gave me a new perspective on Jewish holidays—starting with Tisha B’Av

Be Happy

We’re commanded to be happy on Purim, and it turns out the acts required for proper observance—from donning costumes to celebrating with others—provide useful tricks for brightening moods year round

Today on Tablet

Simchat Torah edition

In a Loop

Starting the Torah cycle anew and reckoning with Moses’ unfulfilled desire to reach the promised land

Today on Tablet

God’s favorites, and more

The End

Finishing the Torah cycle, like finishing a scary children’s book, provides a much-needed sense of accomplishment

Shemini Atzeret-Simchat Torah FAQ

Everything you ever wanted to know about the holidays

On the Bookshelf

Compulsions, subversions, and a TV tell-all

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