Annual Soapbox

It’s time for the annual hop onto my soapbox promoting and encouraging the celebration of Simchat Torah!

During Simchat Torah we read about the death of Moses at the end of the Torah and then jump right back in with the reading of Creation at the beginning of the Torah to begin our annual cycle of reading. And we dance! We celebrate! It’s fun for all ages. There is no fasting, no chest beating, just merriment. If you have any plans to be in New York City or another city with larger populations of Jews, dancing and celebrating pours out into the closed-off streets. 

Every one of our synagogues and Chabad houses will be celebrating. They will each be a little different, but it will be fun everywhere. 

Important note: Please check schedule of festivities with individual places. There will be differences. In Israel, the holiday starts on Sunday evening and runs through Monday. Reform Jews outside of Israel hold by the same timing (topic for a different week), but celebrations may happen earlier in the day on Sunday. For conservative and orthodox Jews outside of Israel, the holiday starts on Monday evening and runs through Tuesday, with both evening and morning services and celebrations. 

As with social etiquette, the two topics I try to avoid in my writing are religion and politics. I may comment on them as societal concepts, but it is not my place to preach my personal views.  Rarely, if ever, do I share those views. Having said that, it is the mission of Federation “to build and maintain a strong and united Jewish community.” Synagogue involvement should be an important part of this mission, and yet for many Jews in America, it simply isn’t. 

I know that my weekly column will not bring the entire Jewish community to synagogue every day, but if we are to start somewhere, I propose that it be on one of our fun days, giving our kids an opportunity to think that the synagogue is an exciting place to be. And so, my annual Simchat Torah soapbox pitch. (Next soapbox pitch coming in March, for Purim!)

Please help us welcome our Eskhol teen visitors on Saturday morning, October 19 at Shabbat services at Congregation Ohav Shalom; Saturday evening at Cosmic Bowling Night for Teens at Del Lanes in Delmar; Sunday morning, October 20 at Simchat Torah services at Congregation Beth Emeth; Monday night, October 21 or Tuesday morning, October 22 at Simchat Torah services at Temple Israel and Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob. For more information, contact Marci Galinkin, (518) 783-7800 ext. 239.

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