In 1965, Martha and the Vandellas released their musical hit “Dancing in the Street.”
“All we need is music, sweet music
There’ll be music everywhere
There’ll be swingin’, swayin’, and records playin’
And dancin’ in the street.”
What the artists did not know is that over 50 years ago on Simchat Torah, that is exactly what we will do as a community. Over the last two years, religious rituals shifted to outdoor spaces due to necessity. This year, we do so by desire.
As our sanctuaries sat empty during the pandemic, we took our Torahs out to the streets. As the music played, neighbors opened their doors with smiles on their faces. Children danced with their parents with pride. Dancing in the streets is not new to our tradition. When the Israelites crossed the sea, from slavery to freedom, it was Miriam who brought drums to create a beat and the people danced. The Midrash teaches that the women brought timbrels because they had a belief in miracles. Miracles are not to rely on, but as David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel, said: “Anyone who does not believe in miracles is not a realist.” It is our task as partners with God to be realistic miracle makers, to see a path of joy that we may never have noticed before, to bring the music into the streets. Before a child can sing, they can dance. Walk into our Sinai Temple Douglas Family Early Childhood Center, and you will see children dancing to the sounds of Shabbat and holy day music. This week, we will finish reading the Torah, but our songs are just beginning.
Come and experience a Simchat Torah that you will never forget. Remember, the Torah was not given in a sanctuary. Rather, the people gathered outside, in nature, dancing in the streets.