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Shmini Atzeret in the United States

Many Jewish communities in the United States celebrate Shemini Atzeret (or Shmini Atzeret) and Simchat Torah. Shemini Atzeret is a Jewish holiday dedicated to the love of God. Simchat Torah marks the end of the Sukkot (or Sukkoth) festival.

Is Shmini Atzeret a Public Holiday?

Shmini Atzeret is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

The Torah - Sacred Scripture of Judaism.

Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah activities include Torah readings.

©iStockphoto.com/Robert Simon

What Do People Do?

Shemini Atzeret is the holiday that follows immediately after the seventh day of Sukkot, known as Hoshana Rabbah. Shemini Atzeret is a time when prayers or celebrations for rain and a good harvest are made for the coming year in the Jewish calendar.

Public Life

Many Jewish communities in the United States observe Shemini Atzeret on one day and Simchat Torah on the following day. These days are not nationwide public holidays in the USA but some Jewish organizations may be closed or offer a limited service to allow for festivities to occur on this day.


The name "Shmini Atzeret" refers to the eighth day, or the extra day, that brings the seven-day Sukkot period to its state of perfection. Rabbinic tradition teaches that Shemini Atzeret is the day when the world is judged for water, or rainfall, in the upcoming year. It is an important day for agricultural purposes.

Simchat Torah is generally celebrated on the same day as Shemini Atzeret in Israel and among Reform Jewish groups. These two occasions are also observed as two separate days among many Jewish communities outside of Israel.

About Shmini Atzeret in other countries

Read more about Shmini Atzeret.

Shmini Atzeret Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010ThuSep 30Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2011ThuOct 20Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2012MonOct 8Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2013ThuSep 26Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2014ThuOct 16Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2015MonOct 5Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2016MonOct 24Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2017ThuOct 12Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2018MonOct 1Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2019MonOct 21Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 
2020SatOct 10Shmini AtzeretJewish holiday 

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