Simchat Torah, the day after Sukkot is the celebration of the conclusion of the annual cycle of torah readings at which point we immediately start the cycle again with the reading of Bereshis, Genesis.
It is a joyous time to celebrate the end and the beginning. Simchat Torah caps the holiday-packed month of Tishrei -- the month is filled with days of awe, atonement and newness. The holiday overflows with celebration and happiness as Jews all over the world begin to read anew the Torah.
Simchas Torah literally means “rejoicing of the Torah.” This is not a holiday to celebrate on your own and joy is evident when you celebrate with your synagogue! Our new year begins and the Torah reading cycle winds down with splendor and intensity. The celebrations in shul are highlighted by dancing, singing and parading around with Torahs held proudly aloft. Children and adults alike wave the Israeli flag and shout out a hearty “Chag Sameach” and “Git Yomtov”.
Simchat Torah usually occurs in October, it is always 3 weeks after Rosh Hashanah.
This festive holiday is mostly celebrated in the synagogue by dancing for hours into the night and the next day with the torah. Children march around with flags and candy and alcohol are in abundance.
There are not many food customs for Simchat Torah, but since it always occurs in the autumn, the flavors of Fall pervade the menus. Many people also like to serve rolled foods to symbolize the torah scrolls.