Saturday, October 10, 2009

Simchat Torah - A Grand Finale

And so the holiday season has drawn to a close. Here in Israel, since the August break, life has never really wound back to normal. Instead we had a leisurely change of gear during September, with the return of work and school, but with many big projects, reorganizations, after school activities and normal school hours, not resuming until next week.

Whenever you asked something of someone over the past few weeks, the answer was always the same, “acharay hahagim” – after the holidays. Life in Israel was paused on half speed and today signaled the end of the festive season. But Simchat Torah is not really an ‘end’ it is surely a ‘grand finale’.

Today’s, Simchat Torah celebrations were joyous and manic. I watched as the men raced around the bima, torah scrolls held in the air or over their shoulders, singing in unison; the women looking on, making their own circles to dance in; clapping and singing along. I smiled at the boy propped on his father’s shoulders, wearing his over-sized jacket and two hats stacked one upon the other. Everyone was happy, celebrating the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.

And so Israel cranks up another gear to something that resembles normal speed. The women all start their diets and the kids their after school clubs. Please G-d our year will be full of health, happiness and peace. Amen.

Sharona B