When does Shemini Atzeret start and end, why do Jews celebrate the day after Sukkot and what is the holiday about?

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MANY Jews around the world will be preparing to celebrate Shemini Atzeret – a day when prayers are said for the harvest the following year.

But when is this year’s event and what happens during the festival?

 Many Jewish communities observe Shemini Atzeret on one day and Simchat Torah on the following day

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Many Jewish communities observe Shemini Atzeret on one day and Simchat Torah on the following day

What is Shemini Atzeret?

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 for rain and a good harvest are made for the coming year in the Jewish calendar.

It is also a Jewish holiday dedicated to the love of God.

Rabbinic tradition teaches that Shemini Atzeret is when the world is judged for water, or rainfall, in the upcoming year so is an important day for agricultural purposes.

When does Shemini Atzeret start and end?

The Jewish holiday is celebrated on the 22nd day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, usually coinciding with late September or early October.

The event kicks off this year on Wednesday October 11 at sundown.

Outside of Israel, the holiday is observed for two days, so will end the following day on October 12 at nightfall.

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.

How do Jews celebrate the day after Sukkot?

Shemini Atzeret is a holiday on which work is not permitted, although the two days aren’t nationwide public holidays in the UK.

However, some Jewish organisations may be closed or offer a limited service to allow for festivities to occur on this day.

On the preceding nights, women and girls will light candles and recite blessing and enjoy daily festive meals.

Meals will be accompanied by a kiddush, which is blessings recited over a cup of wine.

During the festival, some Jews will refrain from driving, writing or using electronic devices.

Many Jewish communities observe Shemini Atzeret on one day and Simchat Torah on the following day.

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