Sukkos and Simchas Torah are the happiest holidays on the Jewish calendar. These holidays were celebrated with great joy at Desert Torah Academy this year.

One of the school’s traditions is that certain classes get to eat lunch with their parents in the Sukkah. This year, the Kindergarten and Middle School were chosen. Everyone enjoyed a delicious meal, thanks to Rafi’s Catering. The children also shared beautiful Torah thoughts and songs with their parents. Rabbi Rodman, the school principal said the blessing on the Lulav and Esrog with the parents who were there.

Another special party was held for the students of Torah Tots, DTA’s preschool. The children had fun on moon bounces and played other games while the parents munched on delicious snacks. Morah Dina Harlig, director of DTA, shared an inspiring D’var Torah with the parents.

Each of DTA’s classes also did special projects for the Sukkos and Simchas Torah holidays. Morah Rivky's Kindergarten made edible Sukkah’s, Morah Gili’s first grade made stuffed Torahs, Morah Ruti’s second grade made Sukkos decorations, while Rabbi Segall’s third grade made posters to hang in the Sukkah. Morah Chayala’s fourth grade learned about the Ushpizin and the fifth and sixth grades made model Sukkahs that were built on scale but with the same dimensions as a real sukkah.

As if all this was not enough, this year is a special year as its Shnas Hakhel (Year of Gathering). When the Holy Temple stood, a special celebration was held on Sukkos immediately after the Shmittah year. To remember this event, we hold special gatherings today, in the year following Shmittah (the Sabbatical year). On Wednesday, September 30, Chabad of Southern Nevada sponsored one of these events. While it was for the whole community, many of the attendees were DTA’s students. Some even helped by volunteering to run arts and crafts booths.

On stage, the entire assemblage was entertained by musician Benji Rafaeli, the famous Brooklyn juggler and the (soon to be famous…..) human esrog! The entire crowd joined in the dancing and singing. The event concluded with Rabbi Chaim Ozer Metal of Summerlin leading the crowd in the 12 Pesukim and picking the winners of a special raffle. The grand prize winner was Daniel Hauck, a DTA student. The evening was a great success!

The mission of Desert Torah Academy is to provide the Jewish children of Southern Nevada with an outstanding Judaic/Hebrew and Secular education. DTA staff will promote students’ growth as active learners; respectful, responsible citizens; and independent thinkers. Through a stimulating and safe learning environment, our students will grow in appreciation of Jewish tradition and culture while being prepared for success in high school and life in the world community.