Aliyah Bet:- Aliyah 'a going up' (spiritually), in this sense, immigration; Bet, the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet: hence Aliyah 'Aleph', legal immigration according to the Mandatory Power, and 'Aliyah Bet' - illegal immigration - the blockade runners! -
Appell:- The roll call - a word known only too well to all armed forces who fell captive during the war! -
Bar Mitzvah:- Confirmation ceremony and celebration on reaching the age of thirteen - once only for boys; modern usage and the reform movements have introduced it for many girls as well. -
Beitar:- Pioneering youth movement from the 1920's led by Revisionist Ze'ev Jabotinsky in Poland and trained as a para-military force. -
Challa (Pl. Challot):- The special sweet, white, plaited loaf used for Friday evening Kiddush (q.v.). -
Chapper (like the 'ch' in loch):- Yiddish slang: to snatch or to snatch greedily; to be avaricious for more than one's needs, etc. -
Draughts:- The board game known as checkers in American English. -
Goyim (Literally 'Nations' in Hebrew):- Adopted by Yiddish as meaning non-Jews generally.-
Gut Shabbos:- Germano-Yiddish; simply a 'Good Sabbath' greeting.-
Hagannah (Literally 'Defence'):- The fledgling Israeli defence force during the Mandatory period, before becoming today's Israel Defence Forces.-
Haggadah (Literally 'Narration'):- The specially arranged prayer book used during the Seder (q.v.). -
Hannuka:- The Festival of Lights, about the time of Christmas; celebrates the rededication of the Temple in the Second Century, BCE., after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes IV. -
Hashomer Hatza'ir (The Young Guard):- Left wing political pioneering youth movement. -
Hatikvah (Literally 'The Hope'): - The Jewish National Anthem.-
Hevra Kadisha ('holy' or 'sanctifying' group):- The name given to the community organizations responsible in every Jewish community throughout the world for attending to, and burying the dead.-
I.Z.L.:- The initial letters of the Hebrew words: Irgun Zva'i Le'umi - meaning the National Military Organization; one of the organizations which fought the British and Arabs during the later stages of the Mandatory period; known also as simply The Irgun: Organization.-
Judenrat:- The Jewish run and staffed councils forced upon the Jewish communities by the Nazis.-
Kaddish:- Short prayer, praising God and recited on the anniversary of the death, and in memory of close relatives by nuclear-family males.
Kibbutz (Pl - Kibbutzim):- A communal farm; a system evolved by early socialist pioneers and unique to Israel; now rapidly changing format. In later chapters ('BERLIN' and after), the word can also be conveniently translated simply as 'group' (from which it is derived), and with which it is almost inter-changeable, depending on the context. -
Kiddush (Sanctification):- A short, Friday evening and Festival ceremony, usually at home, for sanctifying the Holy Day. -
Kol Nidrei (All Vows and Promises):- The opening prayer for the Eve of the solemn Day of Atonement, which has given its name to the evening itself.
Kosher:- Ritually clean and prepared according to Jewish rabbinical law. -
LE.H.I:- An acrostic - the initial letters of the words: Lohemai Herut Yisrael: Freedom Fighters for Israel - an underground movement during the Mandatory period.-
Mazal-Tov:- Literally 'Good Luck' and used as an informal and cheering 'blessing' on all festive and similar occasions. -
Mensch (Germano-Yiddish):- A human being; to be a nice person, to behave nicely - '....be a "Mensch'' - '....be a man!'- Do the 'right' thing.-
Moshav:- a collection of small holders, acting cooperatively in some aspects but not as closely bound communally and socially as a Kibbutz. -
Noham:- Acronym of the youth movement 'No'ar Hehalutzi Hame'uchad' 'United Pioneering Youth'-.
Palim:- The branch of the Hagannah (q.v.), dealing with naval operations.-
Palmach:- An acronym formed from words meaning 'Strike Force' or 'Strike Platoon'; the later striking arm of the otherwise purely defensive Hagannah (q.v.).-
Purim:- Early spring festival recalling the attempts of Haman to destroy the Jews and of Mordechai's and Queen Esther's successful thwarting of the plan.-
Putzer:- Semi-slang German term for 'cleaner' - those selected to clean the barracks, toilets, etc. -
Reb A title of respect or courtesy given to an elder or esteemed member of the community - rather like the old 'Esquire' -
Rosh Hashonna:- The New Year festival. (vide: Yom Kippur).-
S-Bahn:- Berlin's surface rail system The 'S' is for 'Schnell' - fast.-
Sabra:- The local prolific, Israeli cactus plant - the 'prickly pear'; used to describe the native born Israeli - prickly outside, sweet and tender inside.-
Schadchan:- The 'match-maker' -
Schiksa:- A somewhat derogatory slang expression for a non-Jewish girl, deriving from a Hebrew word for 'unclean creature'. -
'Schmaltzovnikim':- pure slang expression for gangs of marauding youths.-
Seder(Literally 'order'):- The formal Passover ceremonial meal, so called because of its strict attention to the order in which it is carried out and the table laid. -
Shalom aleichem:- The time honoured greeting of Jews (and Arabs!) - 'Peace be unto you' -
Shiva(Literally 'seven'):- The seven days deep mourning period of close relatives commencing immediately after burial. -
Talba:- The acronym given by Dov's group to their Kibbutz, coming from the Hebrew phrase: 'Tov Lamut Be-ad Artezenu' - 'It is good to die for our Country' - the dying words of Josef Trumpledor, an early legendary hero of the modern Zionist State.-
Torah (The Law):- The Scrolls of the Law - the Sacred Word of God handed down to Moses, and the other books of the Old Testament.-
treffe (unclean):- Not killed ritually or prepared according to Jewish law; the opposite of 'kosher' (q.v.) -
Weiberlech:- Germano-Yiddish - 'the womenfolk'.-
Wolowka:- The street with the local second-hand market.
Yeshiva:- A religious seminary for advanced studies in Judaism - usually culminating in ordination into the Rabbinate.
Yishuv (Settlement):- The name given to itself by the entire Jewish population of Palestine during the Mandate period up to the Declaration of Independence. -
Yom Kippur:- The Day of Atonement - together with Rosh Hashonna (q.v.),and the Ten Days of Penitence between, the most awesome and spiritually significant period in the Jewish calendar.-
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