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Israelis Celebrate Simchat Torah with Traditional Festive Rites

Israelis throughout the country concluded the Simchat Torah holiday here with singing, dancing and merrymaking in the streets. Here, the famed “hakkafot” procession of Torah scrolls started at Heichal Shlomo, the Chief Rabbinate Center, and made its way to the President’s home, where President Zalman Shazar joined in the festivities. Also taking part in the celebration were Chief Rabbis Isser Yehuda Unterman and Yitzhak Nissim, and Religious Affairs Minister Zorach Warhaftig.

On Mount Zion, special Yizkor memorial prayers were recited for Israeli military personnel who had fallen during the War of Independence, and for the members of the Jewish settlement who fell in the Second World War. The traditional Shmini Atzeret prayer for rain was recited opposite the Old City of Jerusalem at the closest point on the Israeli side of the border of the site of the ancient Temple.