This year's Simchat Torah celebration at The Davis Academy was immeasurably enriched through the participation of several wonderful Middle School students. In her capacity as a Jewish Life Leader and member of MSLTI (our Middle School Leadership Training Institute), 8th Grader, Amit Rau, delivered the following remarks. Her words, thoughtfully written and beautifully delivered, captivated our community and inspired all of us. They are shared here with her parents' permission.
Boker Tov and Chag Sameach. My name is Amit Rau and I am in eighth grade. I am proud to be involved in Jewish Life Leadership this year. Yesterday, in our synagogues and in Israel, as well as at Davis today, we celebrate an important holiday. (To kids:) Can anyone in Mechina tell me the name of this holiday? … Yes, You’re right! The name “Simchat Torah” comes from “Simcha”, which means happiness. Simchat Torah is a holiday that teaches us to celebrate and be happy with our Torah.
Every year, during Simchat Torah, we restart reading the Torah. As soon as we finish reading the last words of the book of Deuteronomy today, in the same breath, we will read the first words of Genesis. Today, we sing and dance and celebrate the joy of the Torah with family, friends and teachers. We unravel the Torah to see the beauty of its words and teachings. We hold the Torah high to show each member of our community that it does not only belong to the rabbis, but also to every person in our Kehilla.
As I look around this room, I see many generations of people, sitting together and enjoying the happiness this holiday brings. This is similar to how we pass the Torah from generation to generation at bar and bat mitzvah services.
The last words of the Torah in the book of Deuteronomy are Kol Israel, which mean “all of Israel”. That is the most important message of this meaningful holiday. There is no better feeling than standing together with our Davis Academy family and celebrating our Torah. I want everyone to look around themselves. Parents and grandparents, look at your children and grandchildren. Students, look at your teachers, your friends, and your family. Teachers, look at your students. (PAUSE)
Standing together this morning… we are, truly… Kol Israel.