Thursday night saw communities across Israel take to the streets singing and dancing with Torah scrolls in the customary conclusion to the Sukkot and Simhat Torah festivals. Jewish communities outside of Israel continue to celebrate the festival for an extra day, as with most other major Jewish festivals.
The Hakafot Shniyot, (second round of dancing) is a repeat of celebrations marking the end and restart of the annual cycle of readings from the Torah. Arutz Sheva presents a collection of clips from the festivities across the country.
In the capital thousands of people flocked to the Kraft Stadium to join the Razel brothers Yonatan and Aharon and their Cousin Nitzan-Chen, in an event that first started as a humble family gathering at a local synagogue in the neighborhood of Nahloat, but which has since become an annual centerpiece in the city.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem mayoral candidates Nir Barkat and Moshe Lion both joined dancing in different neighborhoods around the city. While Barkat joined students at the Machon Meir yeshiva in Kiryat Moshe, Moshe Lion spent the night dancing with residents of Har Homa and Katamon.
Thousands of people converged on Tel Aviv's Rabin Square for Hakafot Shniyot celebrations, in an event organized by the city municipality and the Tel Aviv Yeshiva (Torah academy), headed by Rabbi Haim Gantz. Mayor Ron Huldai and city Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, were joined by Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) MK Ayelet Shaked, in the festivities. Rabbi Gantz praised the celebrations for "breaking down the barriers between religious and secular," who both joined in the traditional dancing with Torah scrolls.
Hundreds of Chabad Hassidim joined singer Mendy Jarufi for hakafot shniyot at the Machpela Cave in Hevron, with local residents dancing with Chabad followers who came for the event, alongside soldiers and border police serving in the city. The event was organized by the Chabad House of Hevron along with Machpela Cave management and the city's Jewish community.
Chabad held its central celebrations in Kfar Chabad, with Israel's Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau and Rabbi of the Kotel (Western Wall) Shmuel Rabinowitz joining celebrants. Events also took place across the country from Eilat in the South to Kiryat Shmona in the North.