Home   Calendar   Holidays   the United States   Simchat Torah
Flag for USA

Simchat Torah 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 Simchat Torah a Public Holiday?

Simchat Torah is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Simchat Torah focuses on rituals that involve the reading of the Torah.

©iStockphoto.com/Robert Simon

What Do People Do?

Simchat Torah is a joyous event. Central rituals for Simchat Torah include reading the Torah by concluding the Book of Deuteronomy and beginning the Book of Genesis. Other activities include performing the Hakafot (dancing with the Torah) around the synagogue bimah (elevated area or platform in a Jewish synagogue). Synagogues in cities such as Philadelphia have, in the past, held song and dance events to mark Simchat Torah.

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.

Background

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 Simchat Torah in other countries

Read more about Simchat Torah.

Simchat Torah Observances

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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015TueOct 6Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2016TueOct 25Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2017FriOct 13Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2018TueOct 2Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2019TueOct 22Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2020SunOct 11Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2021WedSep 29Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2022TueOct 18Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2023SunOct 8Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2024FriOct 25Simchat TorahJewish holiday
2025WedOct 15Simchat TorahJewish holiday

We diligently research and continuously update our holiday dates and information. If you find a mistake, please let us know.

You might also like

Rabbi praying on Sukkot

First Day of Sukkot

The first day of Sukkot marks the start of the Sukkot festival for Jewish communities in many countries, including the United States. more

Rabbi holding lulav

Last Day of Sukkot

Many Jewish communities in countries such as the United States observe the last day of Sukkot, which marks the end of the Sukkot festival. more

The Torah - Sacred Scripture of Judaism.

Shmini Atzeret

Shemini Atzeret (or Shmini Atzeret) is a Jewish holiday dedicated to the love of God, while Simchat Torah (Simchas Torah or Simhat Torah) marks the end of Sukkot and celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah. more

Alaska Day

Alaska Day is an official holiday in Alaska, the United States, on October 18 each year. It commemorates the formal transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States on October 18, 1867. more