Simchat Torah ended Thursday evening in the Land of Israel but tens of thousands of Jews will be dancing with the Torah scrolls in the 'Second Hakafot' (Hakafot Shniyot), in a tradition that is meant to show identification with the Jews who live abroad, for whom Simchat Torah only began Thursday evening. The "plus" in the land of Israel is that the holiday is over and musical bands can accompany the dancers.
In Jerusalem, the official Second Hakafot began at 8 p.m. in Gan HaPaamon's basketball courts for the 29th year and under the sponsorship of Eugene Glick of the United States.
Second Hakafot will also be held in Nazareth, Akko and Yafo, with police approval and security arrangements, as well as in many towns, synagogues, and neighborhoods all over the country.
Shmini Atzeret falls on the eighth day of Sukkot but is considered a holiday unto itself, and is specified in the Bible. The holiday is an extension of Sukkot, signifying G-d and the Jewish people's desire to extend the holiday.
Simchat Torah is the celebration marking the annual completion of the Torah, which is read in weekly portions on Sabbaths. This holiday is not mentioned in the Bible but was established by the Jewish Sages at a later period. The two holidays occur on the same day in the Land of Israel, but for Jews living outside the land of the forefathers, Simchat Torah is held on the day after Shmini Atzeret. By dancing the Second Hakafot, Israeli Jews share the celebration of their brothers and sisters abroad.