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[Page 539]


ABRIVELE DER MAMEN” A letter to my mother. Yiddish folk song
AGUDAT ISRAEL Hebrew for Union of Israel. Orthodox Jewish Movement
AL CHET Hebrew for the sin, confession prayer recited on Yom Kippur
AL HANISIM A prayer which is recited on Hanukkah and Purim
ALIYAH Hebrew for immigration to the Holy Land
ALIYAH BETH Clandestine immigration to the Holy Land
ALIYAH L'TORAH Ascent to the platform where the Scripture reading takes place
AMALEKITES The descendants of Amalek the grandson of Esau. Exodus ch.17
AMIDAH Silent prayer which is recited thrice daily
ASMODEUS An evil spirit in Jewish legends
AVINY MALKEINU Hebrew for our Father, our King. A prayer which is recited on the High Holidays.
BAIS YACOV A religious school for girls
BAAL SHEM TOV Israel, the son of Eliezer. 1700–1760. Founder of a pious movement
BAR MITZVA A Jewish boy who has reached thirteen. The age of religious duty and responsibility
BARTENURA Meaning Rabbi Ovadia from Bartenura. A commentator of the codification of Jewish oral law
BARUCH ATA Hebrew for praise Thy Name. The beginning of every blessing
BEIT HAMIDRASH House of prayer and place of study of sacred books
BELVEDERE The residence of the Polish Head of Government
BIMAH Platform in a synagogue on which stands the desk from which the Scriptures are read
BLUE WHITE BOX Collection box distributed by the Jewish National Fund
BNOS AGUDAT ISRAEL Young women's section of the Orthodox Jewish Party
BRIT Short for BRIT MILAH. The religious rite of circumcision.
CAPO or KAP A concentration camp inmate in charge of other inmates
CHAD–GAD–YAW Aramaic song which is sang during the Passover Seder
CHALLA A traditional loaf of rich white bread for the Sabbath
CHEDER Hebrew for room. A one–room religious school
CHEVRA KADISHA Hebrew for Holy Society who takes care of the deceased
CHMIELNICKI A Ukrainian massacre organizer, especially of Jews in the seventeen century
CHOL HAMOED Light holiday on Passover and Sukkoth between the first and the last days of the holiday
CHOMETZ Leavened foodstuff that may not be eaten on Passover
“CHOSHIVER” Yiddish for Your Reverence
CHULENT or TCHULENT Yiddish for food stored in the oven for the Sabbath noon meal
CHUMASH The first five books of the Bible
CHUPPA Wedding canopy

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ELUL The last month of the year in the Jewish calendar
ERETZ ISRAEL Hebrew for the Holy Land
EREV PESACH On the eve of Passover
EREV YOM KIPPUR On the eve of the Day of Atonement
ETROG A yellow citrus fruit resembling lime used during procession in the synagogue on the Harvest Festival in the autumn
GELT Yiddish for money
GEMARA The second and supplementary part of the Talmud
GOY Gentile. Plural Goyim
GYMNASIUM Secondary school in Poland
HACHSHARA Hebrew for preparation. Training before immigrating to Israel
HAFTORAH Hebrew for conclusion. It is the lesson from the Prophets recited immediately after reading from the Pentateuch on the Sabbath
HAGGADAH Narrative of the Exodus read at the Passover seders
HAGANA Jewish self–defence during the British mandate in Palestine
HAKAFOT Procession inside the synagogue during the celebration of rejoicing the ending and beginning of reading the Scriptures
HALACHA Laws or ordinances not written down in the Scriptures but based on oral interpretation
HALLEL A part of the Jewish religious services consisting of Psalms 113–118 inclusive recited or sung on certain festivals
HALUTZ, plural HALUTZIM A Jewish pioneer in agricultural settlements of modern Israel
HAMAN A Persian official who sought destruction of the Jews and was hanged when his plot was exposed
HAMAVDIL A Saturday night song which is sung after the departure of the Sabbath
HANUKKAH Jewish festival commemorating the redemption of the Temple on 165B.C
HASSIDIM Members of pious Jewish sect originated in the 18th Century in Poland
“HASHOMER” The watchman
HASKALA Hebrew for enlightenment. A movement among the Jews in the other half of the 19th Century
HASMONAIM A High Priest with his sons who revolted against the Greeks
HEIMISH Yiddish for friendliness
HORA Lively Israel folk dance
HOSHANA RABA The 7th day of the Harvest Festival
HOSHANOT, plural HOSANNA Hebrew for praise to G–d
IN SHUL ARAAN Yiddish. A early morning call from the sexton to come to the synagogue
JUDENRAT German for Jewish Council appointed by the German authorities to administer the ghetto
KABBALA An occult philosophy of certain Jewish Rabbis in the Middle Ages

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KADDISH A mourner's prayer praising G–d
KAPAROT, plural KAPARAH A symbolic ceremony taking place before the day of Atonement in which the sins of a person are transferred to a fowl – a white hen or rooster
KAPO See Capo
KASHRUTH The dietary regulations of Judaism
KEHILLAH The leadership of a Jewish Community
KIDDUSH Benediction recited over wine
KINDERLECH Yiddish for children in an endearing manner
KLEZMORIM Yiddish for orchestra
KLOIZ Yiddish for house of prayers
KOL CHAMIRA A prayer which is recited on Passover Eve while clearing away the leavened food
KOL NIDREI The prayer of atonement recited at the opening of the Yom Kippur services
KOSHER Fit to eat according to the dietary laws
KREPLACH Yiddish for small casings of dough filled with ground meat, boiled and served usually in soup
KRIAT SHEMA Declaration of the basic principle of Jewish belief recited thrice daily
KUGEL Sabbath delicacy. A crusty baked pudding made of potatoes or noodles
KVITTEL Yiddish for note. Folded note addressed to a Rabbi containing a special request or wish that the Rabbi should pray for
LAG B'OMER A Jewish holiday observed on the 18th day of the month of Iyar
LANDSMAN, plural LANDSLEIT Fellow countryman/men
L'CHAIM To live, cheers
LECHA DODI Hebrew song welcoming the Queen of Sabbath
LEVIATHAN Bible, sea monster or a whale
LULAV Hebrew for palm branch used in the procession in the synagogue during the Harvest Festival
MINYAN Hebrew for quorum. A properly constituted group for a public Jewish prayer of at least ten Jewish males
MISHLOACH MANOT Hebrew for sending gifts, a tradition observed on Purim holidays
MISHNAYOTH The first part of the Talmud containing traditional oral interpretation of scriptural ordinances
MITZVA Fulfilling a commandment
MIZMOR SHIR Hymn from the Psalms (Ps.ch.30) sung on Hanukkah
MIZRACHI A religious Zionist Organization
MUSSAF The last part of the Sabbath and holiday services
MAARIV Evening prayer
MAFTIR The last part of the Scripture reading on Sabbath and holidays
MAIMONIDES Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon. 1135–1204. Physician and philosopher in Egypt
MAH NISHTANA Hebrew for what is different? The beginning of the four questions asked by a child at the ceremony celebrated on Passover night

[Page 542]

MAOZ TZUR A Hanukkah song
MAROR Hebrew for bitter herbs eaten during the ceremony on Passover night
MARANOS, plural of MARANO In the Spanish Inquisition, a Jew forced to profess Christianity in order to escape death
MATZA, plural MATZOT Flat unleavened bread eaten during the Passover
MEGILLAH Hebrew for scroll. The story of Esther which is read on Purim is called Megillah
MELAMED, plural MELAMDIM Hebrew for teachers
MELAVEH MALKA Literary: escorting the Queen. A Saturday night meal in honour of the outgoing of the Sabbath Queen. (Sabbath is endearingly called the Sabbath Queen)
MENORAH Seven branch candelabrum. A traditional symbol of Judaism
MENTCHEN, plural for MENTCH Yiddish for a human being
MIDRASH Rabbinical commentaries and explanatory notes on the Scriptures
MIKVA Ritual bath in which Orthodox Jews immerse themselves for ritual purification
MINCHA Afternoon services
NEILAH Concluding services on the Day of Atonement
NKVD Soviet Secret Police
NETILAT YADAIM Blessing which is recited during hand washing before a meal
NETUREI KARTA An extreme religious sect in Jerusalem
NU! Yiddish expression. Well! Come on!
OR HAGANUZ Ancient Hebrew Hanukkah song
PILSUDSKI JOZEF Polish General and statesman. 1867–1935
PINKAS plural PINKASIM Daily Journal of a Jewish Community
POGROM Russian for an organized persecution and massacre
PURIM A Jewish holiday. The feast of lots celebrated on the 14th of Adar
PUSHKE Yiddish for collection box
RAMBAM Abbreviation of Reb Moshe Ben Maimon. See Maimonides
REB Hebrew title for Sir or Mister
REBETZIN A Rabbi's wife
RESPONSA A compilation of questions and answers on Jewish laws
“REVEE” Hebrew for forth – the fourth person called to the reading of the Scriptures on Sabbaths and holidays
ROSH HASHANA Jewish New Year
SABBATH GOY A gentile who helps to do things that Jews are forbidden to do on Sabbath and holidays such as starting a fire or turning lights on
SEDER Ceremony celebrated at table in the home on Passover night
SHA GOYIM Be quiet! A scolding expression when people converse during religious services
SHALOM ALEICHEM Peace to you. Traditional Jewish greeting
SHAVUOTH The Feast of Weeks. A Jewish holiday
SHEIGATZ Yiddish for impudent boy
SHEKEL An ancient monetary unit
SHEMA ISRAEL The opening of the declaration of the basic principle of Jewish belief proclaiming the absolute unity of G–d
SHEMINI ATZERET The eight–day of solemn Assembly celebrated after the seventh day of Harvest Festival
SHEOL (Bible). A place in the depths of earth conceived of as the dwelling of the dead
SHMALTZ Yiddish for fats
SHOCHET Ritual slaughterer
SHOFAR A ram's horn blown in synagogues on Rosh Hashana and at the end of Atonement Day
SHOMREI SHABOS Jews who strictly observe the Sabbath
SHUL Same as synagogue
SHTETL Yiddish for a little town
SHTREIMEL Fur hat worn by some Orthodox Jews on Sabbaths and holidays
SIMCHAT TORAH Rejoicing the Torah. A Jewish festival that marks the end and the beginning of Scripture reading
SLICHOT Midnight or early morning services beginning a week before Rosh Hashana
SPIEL Yiddish for play
SUKKAH, plural SUKKOTH A Temporary structure with a roof of leaf boughs or straw built by Jews for the Harvest Festival commemorating the tabernacles of the exodus
TALIT, plural TALEITIM Jewish prayer shawl
TALMUD The collection of writings constituting Jewish laws
TALMUD TORAH Institution where Jewish children are taught the Scriptures
TANAI Learned person who participated in the collection of writings and establishing the Jewish law after the destruction of the Second Temple
TASHLICH A prayer which is recited on the second day of Rosha Hashana near a water or sea
TEFILIN Phylacteries. Small leather cases containing passages from Scripture and affixed to the forehead and to the left arm by male Jews during morning services on weekdays
TISHA B'Av The ninth day of the month of Av. A fast day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples
TORAH The whole body of Jewish religious literature
TOWN DRUMMER or ANNOUNCER Ordinances were made known by using drums in the market place in order to gather all the inhabitants
TUV B'SHVAT Jewish Arboretum Day observed in the Holy Land
TZADIK, plural TZDIKIM Righteous people
TZITIT or TZITZIOT Woollen fringes attached in the four corners of a prayer shawl or small ritual garment
UNETANEI or UNESANEI TOKEF KEDUSHAT HYOM An important prayer during the High Holiday services
UR KASDIM An ancient Babylonian place where the Patriarch Abraham was born
YARMULKE Scull cap worn by Jewish males
YESHIVA A college for Talmudic studies
YID Yiddish for Jew
YIDDISHE MAME Jewish mother
YIDDISHKEIT Jewishness, spiritual feeling of being Jewish
YITGADAL VEYITKADASH SHMEI RABA A prayer, praising G–d, recited in synagogue by mourners and also during the burial of a family member
YIZKOR Memorial Services for the departed
YOM KIPPUR Day of Atonement
ZAIDE Yiddish for grandfather
ZION The hill in Jerusalem on which the Temple was built
ZIONISM Movement for re–establishing and at present supporting the Jewish national State of Israel
ZLOTY, plural ZLOTYS Monetary unit of Poland
ZOHAR Mystical commentary on the Pentateuch


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