The fall season brings with it a number of Jewish holidays and festivals, beginning with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the most solemn days of the religious year. The High Holy Days are followed closely by Sukkot, a week-long harvest festival. Shemini Azeret, the eighth Day of Assembly, follows Sukkot, and Simchat Torah, the rejoicing in the Torah, follows on the ninth day. In Reform Judaism, Shemini Azeret and Simchat Torah are combined and observed on the eighth day. Simchat Torah celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings and the beginning of a new cycle. This is also a time when prayers are offered for rain.
This stained glass window combines the holidays of Shemini Azeret and Simchat Torah. Two letters, a shin and an aleph stand for Shemini Azeret, while Simchat Torah is spelled out in full.
This colorful window decorated with beautiful foliage graced the Lexington Avenue home of Adath Israel Congregation in Avondale. The synagogue was dedicated in 1927 and served the community until 1964, when it was sold to Southern Baptist Church, which still occupies the building. This edifice and others of the same era and earlier time periods are the subject of the Skirball Museum’s next exhibition, Jewish Cincinnati: A Photographic History by J. Miles Wolf, opening on October 11. See the Upcoming Exhibitions section of this website for more information about the exhibition.