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Israelis Prepared to Celebrate Simhat Torah with Street Festivities

Israelis prepared today to celebrate the Simhat Torah festival with processions through the streets and traditional singing and dancing in the main squares of the city. Simhat Torah marks the reading of the last portion of the Torah and the first portion immediately afterwards to renew the annual cycle. Large crowds are expected and the religious youth organizations obtained police permission to march through the streets tonight bearing the Torah. A second “hakafot,” traditional march with the Torah, will be held tomorrow night to mark the close of the holiday. At the request of authorities, the religious groups moved the site from the crowded square near the Jaffa Gate to a large parking lot near the Hechel Shlomo, headquarters of Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.