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Simchat Torah
October 15, 2006
East Village, New York City

Written and Photographed by Mary Blanco

Simchat Torah is the Jewish holiday when love for the Torah is openly expressed. This holiday marks the completion of an annual cycle of weekly Torah readings. On Simchat Torah, the last passage in the Torah is read (Deuteronomy is concluded), and then the first passage in the Torah is immediately read (Genesis is begun). Thus, there is an unbroken cycle of reading Judaism's holiest book.

Then there are processions, called Hakafot, around the synagogue with the worshippers carrying Torah scrolls. As many people as possible are given the honor of carrying a Torah scroll in these processions. Joyful singing and dancing, both in the synagogue and in the street, are part of Simchat Torah Hakafot. 

For more information on Hakafot, log onto: http://www.ou.org/chagim/shmini-simchat/hakafot.htm

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