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Simchat Torah

The day after Sukkot is Simchat Torah (Joy of the Torah). On this day the annual cycle of reading the Torah is completed and begun anew, with the last section of Deuteronomy and the first section of Genesis read in succession after a festival parade of the Torah scrolls amidst singing and dancing. It is one of the happiest days in the Jewish calendar. Simchat Torah takes place on the Jewish holiday immediately after the seven-day holiday of Sukkot in the autumn.

Simchat Torah festivities begin with the evening service. All the synagogue's Torah scrolls are removed from the ark and carried around the sanctuary in a series of seven hakafot (circuits). Although each hakafah need only encompass one circuit around the synagogue, the dancing and singing with the Torah often continues much longer, and may overflow from the synagogue onto the streets. After the hakafot and dancing, a portion of the last Parasha of the Torah (Deuteronomy) is read.