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:
Re-read a Favorite Book
On the day of Simchat Torah, the final passages in the Torah are read, and next year’s cycle of reading begins immediately after. Take a cue from tradition and reread some of your favorite books together—you’ll be starting a new tradition and helping build your child’s literacy and close reading skills.
Wave a Flag
image via Chai and Home
During services on Simchat Torah, the Torah scrolls are brought out from the ark and carried around they synagogue in seven circuits, or hakafot. As the scrolls make their way around the building, people laugh, dance, and wave brightly colored flags. Your family can make your own flags to hold and display during services or at a PJ Library event with friends. Decorate construction paper or felt with stamps, ink, and markers and attach to a popsicle stick, or follow this tutorial for something a little bit more formal. You can also download a printable flag kit here.
Make a Special Treat
image via Design Megillah
Make Ten Commandments’ candies, or a yummy edible Torah scroll for your Simchat Torah snack. The Bible Belt Balabusta has a big list of Simchat Torah inspired sweet treats here. Looking for a veggie filled option? Take a cue from Design Megillah and use baby carrots and cucumbers with cheese slices to make your scrolls. For preschoolers, the rolling activity involved in a lot of these recipes is wonderful for fine motor skills. For older children, these treats offer an easy conversation starter and a chance to be creative amending or creating their own recipes.
On the evening when Simchat Torah begins, people celebrate by dancing in the streets. Parents hoist kids up on their shoulders, people wave homemade flags, and everyone joyfully celebrates. Download the PJ Library Radio app to stream holiday-themed music and get your dance on. Don't be shy about putting on a favorite on a favorite playlist and bust a move in your living room or with some friends.
Finish a Project
Whether you finally clean out the playroom, wrap up that epic 72-piece puzzle, or finally get around to doing the kids’ baby books, use the reminder of Simchat Torah to complete an item, big or small, on your to-do list.
Eat Caramel Apples
image via Joy of Kosher
You may have a lot of apples left over from all of your Rosh Hashanah cooking. In Israel, families enjoy caramel apples as part of their Simchat Torah festivities. You can make your own with one of the following recipes:
Explore the Torah
image via Creative Jewish Mom
You can pick a Bible story to read together, ask a local rabbi to see the Torah up close, or make your own Torah craft together, like this one.
Don’t forget to share photos of your Simchat Torah celebrations with us on Facebook and Instagram, using #pjlibrary
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September 28, 2017