The Jews of South-West England
Thesis by Rabbi Bernard Susser
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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