I’ve come to the conclusion we need to change the date of Simchat Torah. Our Jewish festivals must be re-envisioned as inspirational community gatherings of joyful spiritual Jewish celebration. Every single festival needs to be a time of great community involvement and meaning.
Every year, the season of reflection and renewal is culminated by the celebration of Simchat Torah (literally “the rejoicing of the Torah”).
I did not have a typical Reform Movement upbringing, and would say that the three years I lived on an island in Alaska are probably most emblematic of that.
“Rejoicing in the Torah” doesn’t require us to find joy in every verse. It doesn’t mean that we concur with every choice made by the people in it.
With every seemingly worse piece of bad news littering our social media feeds and our news cycles and in the streets right before our very eyes, it’s fair to wonder: What if we simply can’t be happy, even when we’re commanded to? What if you just don’t feel like dancing?