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Sukkot & Simchat Torah

After these weeks of introspection, reflection and forgiveness, it’s finally time to set yourself free. We’ve arrived at our final destination, Simchat Torah. It’s a day of joy and celebration that we reached this moment. 

Dance around your living room with something or someone you hold dear. If you happen to have a Torah scroll handy, dance with it. Whatever you cherish, take it on at least seven laps around your coffee table with a smile on your face. You made it here. And while we can’t guarantee what will come next - be here - in this moment of joy. 


Need a little musical inspiration for your Simchat Torah dance party?

Our recommendations:
Dancing in the Street by Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Joy to the World by Three Dog Night
Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine
New Soul by Yael Naim
Rain on Me by Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : https://opensiddur.org/prayers/lunisolar/joyful-days/shemini-atseret/a-geshem-prayer-invoking-the-matriarchs/

Prayer for Rain in the Merit of the Matriarchs
By Rabbi Jill Hammer

Sukkot is a time of fullness and generosity, but also a time to pray for the coming season. Shemini Atzeret, the festival when we pray for rain, is an expression of our need for water, which in the Jewish tradition symbolizes life, renewal, and deliverance. The Geshem (Rain) Prayer speaks of five patriarchs. In that spirit, I have included five verses, for Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah, and for Miriam the prophetess, paralleling verses for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron.  This prayer uses water as a metaphor for devotion and faith, asking that God grant us life-sustaining rain. 


Remember the beautiful one: her radiance pure as water!
She welcomed new souls through immersion in water.
In her old age her breasts flowed with milk like water.
Her offspring will increase like grains of sand near seas of water.
For Sarah’s sake, do not withhold water. 

Remember the maiden: rising up to greet her, water!
She let down her pitcher and gave to the thirsty water.
She drew even for camels from the well of water.
Over her tent hovered a divine cloud full of water.
For the sake of Rebekah’s righteousness, grant the gift of water. 

Remember the shepherdess: she brought her sheep to water!
She wrestled God-wrestlings mightier than crashing water.
For her exiled children she weeps tears of water,
and they will return to their land like returning streams of water.
For Rachel’s sake, do not withhold water. 

Remember the hidden one: her veil like a fall of water!
Her womb and her deeds were more abundant than springs of water.
She praised You for Your glory as there flowed from her birth water.
King and priest suckled her as lilies suckle water.
For the sake of Leah’s righteousness, grant the gift of water. 

Remember the sister: she watched at a distance from water!
She spoke softly to newborns and saved them from the river of water.
She took up her timbrel and sang at the parting of water.
For her sake, You granted the people a well of water.
For Miriam’s sake, do not withhold water. 

To learn more about this prayer, visit: https://opensiddur.org/prayers/lunisolar/joyful-days/shemini-atseret/a-geshem-prayer-invoking-the-matriarchs/

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Dane Kuttler: https://www.danepoetry.com/

And G!d says: "And when you have made the repairs, when you have lessened the distance between yourself and others, when you have forgiven yourself, when you have built your fort and welcomed your community into it for a whole week - then you can throw a party. A big one, with singing and dancing. And you can say it's because you finished reading the Torah because that's convenient but also you DID IT. You did so much healing. You did so much work. And there is always more to do, and you know that. But you get this. You get to dance. Because if you can't dance, who's gonna want your revolution?"


And G!d says: 

Dance! 

Dance in ever-winding circles -

Dance with your history-

Dance with your scars-

dance with the smell of lambswool on your shoulders -

Dance with the torah, cradled in your arms -

dance with the clarinet, the drum and flute - 

dance with the rabbi - 

dance with the children running sugar wild--whirl them weightless -

dance with the elders - 

dance with the person setting the food out and the one with the mop - 

dance with the teenagers, slouched against the wall  - 

dance with your enemy - 

dance in the center of the circle - your head flung back - 

dance with the loves that hold you - 

dance with the friends that buoy you - 

dance with the struggle - the fight - the invisible night-wrestler -

dance with your triumph - you made it! you did!

 

From Dane Kuttler's The G!d Wrestlers,   The Social Justice Warrior's Guide to the High Holy Days, Sept. 2015

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4kTn1sDKYLojXufoexDvug 

Dance around your living room with something or someone you hold dear. If you happen to have a Torah scroll handy, dance with it. Whatever you cherish, take it on at least seven laps around your coffee table with a smile on your face. You made it here. And while we can’t guarantee what will come next - be here - in this moment of joy. 

Check out our playlist for a Simchat Torah dance party: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4kTn1sDKYLojXufoexDvug 

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Reform Judaism: https://reformjudaism.org/beliefs-practices/prayers-blessings/prayer-simchat-torah

“Rejoicing in the Torah” doesn’t require us to find joy in every verse.

    It doesn’t mean that we concur with every choice made by the people in it.

It doesn’t demand that we defend the indefensible or excuse the inexcusable.

    It doesn’t imply that we should be happy about passages that break our hearts.

Rejoicing in the Torah is found in the freedom to study it when, where, and with whom we wish.

    We experience happiness with it when we wrestle with its conflicts and struggle with its challenges.

It becomes a source of gladness when even its most disturbing passages increase our desire to do good.

    “It is a tree of life” when we treat all life with care, a “light to the eyes” when we look where we are going, a “path of peace” when it inspires us to work for a better world.

As we restart the process of reading it, let our renewed study bring newfound hope, meaning, and joy.     
​May this be our blessing and let us say:

    Amen. 

Rabbi David Wirtschafter is the rabbi of Temple Adath Israel in Lexington, KY.

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : https://pjlibrary.org/beyond-books/pjblog/august-2017/7-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-on-simchat-torah
Kids' Activities for Simchat Torah

After the High Holidays,  Sukkot, and  Shemini Atzeret, it’s time for  Simchat Torah, the "Celebration of the Torah." On this special day, Jewish people around the world celebrate the completion of the annual cycle of the Torah reading. Many synagogues even unroll the entire Torah scroll for everyone to look at.

Since Simchat Torah is a joyful holiday, there are lots of wonderful ways to involve kids. Traditionally families dance, decorate flags, and start the next annual cycle of reading. Here are seven ways to mark Simchat Torah with your family:

1) Re-read a favorite book

2) Wave a flag

3) Make a special treat

4) Dance

For the rest of the activites, click here to keep reading: https://pjlibrary.org/beyond-books/pjblog/august-2017/7-fun-things-to-do-with-kids-on-simchat-torah

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Reform Judaism: https://reformjudaism.org/edible-torah-treats
Edible Torah Treats

In Eastern Europe, it was customary at a child’s first Torah lesson to write the Hebrew alphabet in honey on the child’s slate, and giving it to the child to lick off.  In this way, would the child always associate sweetness with Torah study.

Instead of using honey, make cookies in the shape of Hebrew letters or Torah scrolls, or choose another sweet treat to share with your children as they begin their religious studies. Here's easy recipes to create edible Torahs! 


Recipe 1
Use two pretzel rods as dowels, or eitz chayim (trees of life).
"Glue" on chocolate kisses on the ends of each pretzel for the finials, using chocolate or
vanilla canned frosting as the glue.
Unroll a fruit roll-up for the scroll (chill them before use so they are less sticky).


Recipe 2

Ingredients:

1 flat tortilla per child
2 pretzel rods per child
Soft cheese spread
1 licorice string per child

Instructions:
Cut the rounded edge off the top and bottom of the tortilla. Spread a soft cheese mixture over the tortilla. Put a pretzel rod on the left and right edge of the tortilla. Wrap the tortilla around the pretzel rods, starting at each side and meeting in the middle of the tortilla. Use the licorice string to tie around the "Torah." Enjoy!


Recipe 3

Ingredients
Rolls of candies, such as Smarties
Construction or colorful paper
Strips of ribbon

Directions
Cut paper into strips 4 ½ inches long and 2 inches wide.
Roll 2 packs of Smarties into the paper.
Tie with ribbon.

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Devon Spier
On Hoshana Rabba

on hoshana

rabba

we practice recycling-

i am circling 

seven times 

around

the outskirts

of my  junkyard

heart-

i am saving myself

i am saving myself

i am saving myself

i am saving myself

i am saving myself

i am saving myself

i am saving myself

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : https://triganza.blogspot.com/2011/10/we-parade-around-shul-prayer-for.html?m=1

We Dance Around The Shul
By Trisha Arlin


Our Torah is old.
The blue velvet cover
And the silver plate that hangs over the velvet
Are both covered in names
Of donors long gone,
And their honored loved ones, gone even longer.
These names mean nothing to us:
We ignore them
On Shabbat
When we dance around the shul.

On Selichot we put aside the old velvet
And dressed our Torah in fresh white covers,  
only a year old,
Donated by a beloved member,
Amina.
She died this year, four days before Rosh HaShanah.
Tonight it’s Simkhat Torah.
So we now take off Amina’s white cover
And put on the old one,
Blue, embroidered with strangers' names. 
Then we will dance around the shul.

We will think of Amina every year at this time 
From now on 
Until none of us are around,
Until there is no one who remembers her, 
Or us.
Then others will carry this scroll with the white cover
Donated by a Jew they never knew,
While they dance around the shul.

We give thanks for the ancient traditions, 
Telling the story even when we can’t, 
Keeping our loved ones’ memories 

And giving us Torah from the beginning, every year.

 
Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Rachel Kann https://realizeparadise.com/

Eht/Aht (את) 

By Rachel Kann 

For Ketzirah Lesser’s Eht/Aht (את): a Netivot Wisdom Oracle Card Deck  

-

If the word is made fresh,

then let every alleged blemish be blessed,

each individually kissed 

like the exquisite mezuzah it is. 

-

There is a doorway 

that all of creation 

thresholds its way through 

on its way to 

the eternal-unfolding-already-was. 

-

Oh, All-That-Is/Infinite, 

who whispered this lintel 

into beginning;

into becoming,

-

who bears witness 

to this living-thing-ness,

-

who is this lintel,

-

who is the whisper,

who made the making,

who forms letters out of breath,

-

who said, 

Let this את

contain the whole expanse of it, 

the vessel and exhalation.

-

This is the breath, 

this is the mystery, 

this one, right here, 

-

this is the Saturn-moon-ring 

that surrounds everything,

-

the embrace of beginning 

by ending,

-

the way the wax 

makes love to the wane,

-

this: 

this is the faithfulness 

you are held with.