The High Holidays are over. We have celebrated the New Year. We have observed the Day of At One-ment and atoned for our sins. We have heard the shofar blasts and been renewed. No sooner does the one holiday pass, the next holidays arrive. It is time to build the sukkot, the “booths” of the desert, when we recall the type of fragile dwellings the Israelites used during their 40 years in the wilderness after the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. Sukkot is also called Z’man Simchateinu(Season of Our Rejoicing), the only festival associated with an explicit commandment to rejoice, as we celebrate the fall harvest. After those 8 days, the time comes to renew ourselves in yet another way. Having read the Torah from one end to the other, it will be time to re-roll the ancient scroll back to the beginning, always the beginning, always renewing.
Congregation Kona Beth Shalom has the honor and privilege of having a Torah scroll that was rescued from the Holocaust and restored. Older than the Declaration of Independence, it is for us a living Tree of Life that we use every time we come together for worship. On Simchat Torah we unroll our Torah across the entire room, and the room isn’t even large enough to accomodate the entire scroll. We have to keep on unrolling it several times to complete the task! As we prepare it for unrolling and re-rolling, we have the unique opportunity to literally dance with the Torah – each and every one of us. We are told to carry it around the room seven times, passing it from person to person, all the while singing songs of praise.
The Hebrew date for Simchat Torah is the 23rd day of Tishrei. This year Kona Beth Shalom will celebrate the event on Sunday afternoon, October 23rd. We invite you to join us for this wonderful experience. It will take place at the Hawaiian Queen Coffee Gardens, 75-1048 Henry St., uphill and across the street from Safeway in Kailua-Kona. The helpers (and you know who you are) are asked to be there by 3 pm. The service begins at 4 pm. The service is short but meaningful and includes special aliyot for the children when they are called to the Torah. The music for the dancing and singing will be provided by Kona’s Traveling Jewish Wedding Band. And then, after the pot-luck, the Band will offer a concert of klezmer music. We will finish by 6:30pm
Parking is a bit scarce, so we suggest that you car-pool. There is no charge to attend and participate. Bring pot-luck to share (NO pork or shellfish, please).