On the other hand

October 3, 2021 by Michael Kuttner
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Whew – the holyday season is finished and the country is slowly returning to normal activity.

I say slowly because the day after Simchat Torah here is Isru Chag and schools have an extra day off to recover before students and teachers face another academic year. The middle of the working week means that full activity will only resume next Sunday.

This year, outdoor services were again the norm and quite frankly are becoming much more popular than gathering in stuffy buildings. If and when life returns to some sort of normality it will be interesting to see how many revert to praying in confined spaces and how many want to keep communing with the creator in the midst of nature.

We have prayed for a bountiful rainy season and now await the first serious precipitation of the New Year.

In Israel, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah are combined in one day’s observance. It has become a custom nowadays to celebrate the end of the Festival with an evening of additional joyous celebrations. As the Chag has officially ended, music and videos can be used to celebrate as large groups of youth and others gather together all over the country to dance and sing with a Sefer Torah. These parties extend right until the wee hours and attract secular as well as religious individuals thus making it an ideal occasion for mutual socializing and interaction.

While many parts of the Jewish world were in lockdown with gatherings cancelled or under severe restrictions here in the Promised Land spontaneous celebrations took place even in such staunchly secular cities such as Tel Aviv.

Watch how Tel Avivians took to the streets and celebrated the “rejoicing of the Law” in typical Israeli fashion.

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