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UN General Assembly trip to stymie PM’s celebration of Simchat Torah

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A quirk of the Jewish calendar and the timing of his trip to the United Nations General Assembly in New York mean Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is set to miss out on the chance to celebrate the Simchat Torah holiday this year.

Bennett is taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport to New York City on Saturday night — his second official visit to the United States as prime minister — and will be speaking at the 76th UN General Assembly on Monday, September 27.

The holiday of Shemini Atzeret, during which observant Jews refrain from work and travel, begins on Monday night, which will keep Bennett in New York until Tuesday night.

But then things get a bit complicated.

In Israel, Shemini Atzeret — like nearly all holidays — lasts one day, and is additionally combined with the Simchat Torah holiday.

Simchat Torah marks the conclusion and beginning of the annual Torah-reading cycle, and features joyous dancing, unique prayers and customs around Torah reading, and often drinking and general hijinks.

However, outside of Israel, Shemini Atzeret — like nearly all holidays — lasts for two days, and Simchat Torah falls on the second day, which begins on Tuesday night.

Since many Israelis briefly visiting foreign countries continue to follow the observance back home, the one-day Shemini Atzeret, which Israelis in Israel will celebrate in concert with Simchat Torah, will end for Bennett and the Israeli delegation at nightfall Tuesday evening. There will be little........

© The Times of Israel

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