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The Jews of South-East England
(continuation)

Thesis by Rabbi Bernard Susser



Glossary

 

The following terms are used in this book in a particular sense.

 

Congregation: When capitalized, the term implies an assembly of Jews with a corporate identity.

Jew: One who professes but not necessarily observes the practices of Judaism; the child of a Jewess.

South-West: The English counties of Cornwall and Devon.

 

The transliteration of Hebrew words generally follows the Sephardi pronunciation, except where a word is widely used in its Ashkenasi form.

 

ADAR - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to February/March.

ADAR SHENI - Month in the leap lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to March.

ALIYAH - Emigration to Israel.

ALIYAH (pl. ALIYOT) - Being called to the Torah.

ASHKENASIM - Jews emanating from Central or Eastern Europe, cf. Sephardim.

AV - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to August.

BAAL HABAYIT (pl. BAALEI BATIM) - (Vestry) member of a Congregation.

BAAL TEFILLAH - Prayer leader.

BAR MITZVAH - When a boy becomes thirteen years and one day old.

BAT MITZVAH - When a girl becomes twelve years and one day old.

BENTSCH GOMEL - To recite a thanksgiving blessing when called to the Torah after deliverance from peril.

BETH DIN - Jewish court of law.

BIMAH - Central platform from which the cantor conducts the prayers, and from which the Torah is read aloud to the congregation.

BRIT MILAH - The Covenant of Circumcision.

CHAZAN/SHENI - Cantor or second cantor.

CHEDER - A school for teaching children the elements of the Jewish religion, approximating to 'Sunday school'.

CHUPPAH - Marriage canopy, and hence the marriage ceremony.

COHEN (pl. COHANIM) - A priest of the tribe of Levi.

ELLUL - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to September.

ETROG (pl. ETROGIM) - Citrus fruit used in the ritual at the festival of Tabernacles.

GABBAI - Treasurer.

GABBAI ZEDAKAH - Charity treasurer.

GAON - Rabbinical leader of a community; any outstanding Torah scholar.

HAFTARAH - Portion from the Prophets read in the synagogue on Sabbath morning after the reading of the weekly pericope.

HaLevi - A Levite.

HALITZAH - See shetar halitzah, below

HAMETS - Fermented grain flour whose use or even possession is forbidden on Passover.

HANUKAH - Eight day Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the Temple by the Hasmoneans in 165 B.C.E.

HASSID - A follower of the Jewish religious and social movement founded by Israel Baal Shem Tov in the mid-eighteenth century.

HATAN BEREISHIT - The first man called to the Torah at the beginning of the annual cycle of the Pentateuchal reading.

HATAN TORAH - The last man called to the Torah at the end of the annual cycle of the Pentateuchal reading.

HAVDALAH - Ceremony involving the use of wine, spices and lights, marking the end of the Sabbath.

HEBRAH KADDISHAH - Society for the burial of the dead.

HEREM - Decree of excommunication.

HESHVAN - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to November.

HEZKAT HAKEHILLA - Vestry rights.

HIGH HOLYDAYS - The festivals of the New Year and Day of Atonement.

HOSHANNA RABBAH - The last intermediate day of Tabernacles; a minor festival in its own right.

IYYAR - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to May.

KADDISH - Doxology recited for eleven months after, or on the anniversary of, the death of one's parents or other near relatives.

KAHAL (or KOHOL) - The governing body of the Congregation; the vestry.

KEHILLAH - Community.

KISLEV - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to December.

KOSHER (or KASHER) - Proper, ritually fit. Usually used in connection with food.

KZ - The initial letters of the phrase 'Kohen Zedek' (= righteous priest), often appended to the Jewish name of a priest, giving rise to the surname 'Katz'.

MATNAT YAD - A Festival day on which yizkor (see below) is said.

MATZAH (pl. MATZOT) - Unleavened bread eaten at Passover.

MIKVEH - A bath constructed in accordance with Jewish law, in which a) a woman must immerse monthly before resuming marital relations, b) a convert must immerse to become a Jew, and c) many men immerse, particularly on the eves of Sabbaths and Festivals.

MILAH - Circumcision.

MINHAG - Custom or tradition, often with the force of Jewish law.

MI SHEBERACH - A prayer in the name of one called to the Torah invoking blessing on him, his family, friends and communal leaders.

MITZVAH - A religious obligation; an honour, such as an aliyah, bestowed on a worshipper.

MOHEL - Layman or doctor who performs the religious Covenant of Circumcision.

NISAN - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to April.

OHEL - Chapel in the cemetery.

OMER - Period of forty-nine days between Passover and Pentecost.

ORACH (pl. ORCHIM) - Visitors; worshippers in the synagogue who do not pay a membership fee to the Congregation.

PARNAS - Chairman or president of the Congregation.

PESACH - Passover.

PINKES - A ledger; a book containing communal records.

PORGER - One who removes forbidden fat and sinews from meat.

PURIM - Festival occurring in March commemorating the events recorded in the book of Esther.

RAV - Rabbi.

REB - Honorific title corresponding to 'Mr'.

ROSH HODESH - The first day or days of the Jewish month, a minor festival.

SEGAN - One who bestows aliyot.

SEPHARDIM - A Jew of Spanish or Portuguese descent.

SGL The initial letters of the phrase segan leviyah (= Levitical excellence), often appended to the Jewish name of a levite, and giving rise to the surname 'Segal'.

SHABBAT - The Sabbath.

SHAVUOT - Jewish festival of Pentecost, occurring in May.

SHECHITAH - Jewish method of slaughtering food animals.

SHETAR HALITZAH - Document obliging brother to contract levirate marriage or its substitute.

SHEVA BERACHOT - 'Seven Blessings', recited at the wedding service, or at meals in the first week of the marriage.

SHEVAT - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to January/February.

SHOCHET (pl. SHOCHETIM) - Slaughterer of animals for food using the method of shechitah.

SHOOL - Synagogue.

SIVAN - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to June.

SUCCAH - Tabernacle; a room or hut with a roof of leaves and branches inhabited during the festival of Tabernacles.

SUCCOT - Festival of Tabernacles, occurring in October.

TAKKANOT - Regulations.

TALLIT - Shawl worn by Jewish men during prayers.

TAMMUZ - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to July.

TANNAIM - Conditions; contract; engagement to marry.

TEVET - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to January.

TISHRI - Month in the lunar Jewish calendar, generally corresponding to October.

TORAH - Parchment scroll of the Pentateuch (particularly Sefer Torah; the corpus of Jewish teachings.

TOSAFIST - Medieval French and German Talmudic commentators.

TOSHAV (pl. TOSHAVIM) - One who pays a membership fee for a seat in the synagogue.

TREIFAH - Ritually unfit, not kosher (usually used in connection with food).

VACHER - One who watches over a corpse before its burial.

YAHRZEIT - Anniversary of death.

YIZKOR - Commemorative prayer.

YIA - Initial letters of the phrase 'Yibaneh Ireinu, Amen' (= May our city [i.e. Jerusalem] be rebuilt, Amen), appended after the name of any city in the Diaspora.

YZV - Initial letters of the phrase 'Yishmereihu Zuro Ve-goalo' (= May his Rock and Redeemer protect him), appended to the Jewish name of a living Jew.

ZL - Initial letters of the phrase 'Zichrono Liveracha' (= May his memory be for a blessing), appended to the name of a dead Jew.


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