What is Simchat Torah?

The Autumn months are full of Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot! But did you know that there are more holidays that take place during these joy-filled weeks?

One of these holidays is Simchat Torah, which means "rejoicing of the Torah" in Hebrew. This day is the exuberant conclusion to the fall holiday season in the Jewish calendar. It is an unforgettable outpouring of joy and celebration, all about one thing: the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

A Torah set on a wooden table.

What Happens on Simchat Torah?

On Simchat Torah, the Torah scrolls are taken out in synagogues all over the world, and the singing and dancing begins! The celebration includes a reading of the final portion in the Torah. When reading the Torah is completed, it is immediately begun again. The first chapters of the book of Genesis are read aloud, kicking off a new yearly Torah cycle. One of the highlights of the service is when the children present are called up for an aliyah, the blessing that precedes a Torah reading.

How Do People Celebrate?

In addition to attending services, there are also lots of fun traditions associated with Simchat Torah. In some communities, the Torah scroll is brought around for everyone to look at. People will dance and wave colorful flags in celebration. Looking for a way to celebrate with your family? Here are seven fun things to do with kids on Simchat Torah.


Read one of these stories to learn more about Simchat Torah:

Sammy Spider's First Simchat Torah
by Sylvia Rouss

Recommended for ages 3 to 4 Years

Sammy Spider and Josh both learn about the celebration of Simchat Torah – complete with Israeli flags, stories, conversation, and a parade through the synagogue.

When Zaydeh Danced on Eldridge Street
by Elsa Okon Rael

Recommended for ages 8+ Years

Zeesie is a little afraid of Zaydeh, her grandfather. He’s always so serious and stern. But when Simchat Torah rolls around, Zeesie sees a different side of him. Something about this holiday brings out joy in everyone -- even Zaydeh!