Simchat Torah (which translates to Rejoicing with the Torah in English) is a Jewish holiday which occurs at the end of Sukkot. Filled with music, dancing and beautiful imagery, it is a time of celebration that includes reading the end of Deuteronomy, the beginning of Genesis, and dancing in seven traditional Hakafot (circular dances) each with its own blessing and theme. On such a joyous holiday, no one should feel the pain of exclusion, and so we hope you will consider taking some of these steps to make sure that all can celebrate.
Like any noisy and joyous celebration, Simchat Torah can become extremely overwhelming for those who are Autistic or have auditory or sensory processing disorders. Having a designated quiet room for people to step into and decompress away from all the noise is an excellent option to incorporate. Try to make the room a part of the celebration, a cheerful place to be, without being too loud or visually busy. [continue reading…]