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Shofar

A Glossary of Unfamiliar Terms
Compiled from numerous source documents
by
Ari Levitt
ThM, ThD, DMin, MA, MBA, ND, CNHP

Ten Commandments Tablets
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Abbreviations Used In This Glossary

abbr. = abbreviated

alt. = alternate

Ar. = Aramaic

esp. = especially

Gr. = Greek

Heb. = Hebrew

lit. = literally

n. = noun

pl. = plural

pron. = pronounced

prop. = properly

sg. = singular

usu. = usually

v. = verb

Yid. = Yiddish

Transliteration/Pronunciation GuideBooks of the Bible
Proper NamesTribes of IsraelThe Mishnah

For more Hebrew words and phrases, you might
enjoy John Parsons’ Hebrew4Christians.com

Use this “Jump Bar” to directly to any letter of the AlephBet
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z
Appendix   Liturgy & Worship   Pronunciation   [More]

 

Words to be Added to the Main Glossary Pages
[I warned you that this is a work in progress.]

 B
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 
 
Beit HaT’futzot
The Diaspora Museum, in Tel Aviv
 
b'emet
lit.= in truth: "Really?"; "Really!"
 
Be'ersheva
lit.=well of the oath: Israeli city in the Negev
 
Beit...
pron."bate": House of... [Sefardi pron.]
 
Beit Din
lit.=house of law: rabbinical court
 
Beit HaMikdash
Holy Temple, twice destroyed
 
Beit Lechem
lit.=House of bread (Heb.) Bethlehem, Rachel's burial place
 
Beit (Ha)Midrash
room, building for religious study
 
ben...
son of...
 
bentch
(Yid.) say Grace After Meals
 
bentch licht
(Yid.) light and bless the Shabbat candles
 
Beth...
pron. "bett": House of... [Ashkenazi pron.]
 
biblical
of the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, or the Writings
 
bikur cholim
visiting the sick
 
bimah
Torah-reading table in synagogue
 
Birkat HaMazon
lit.=blessing of the food: Grace After Meals
 
Birkat Kohanim
the blessing of the kohanim (see "duchan")
 
bitachon
(Heb.) trust [n]
 
biz hundret un tzvensik yor
lit.=to a hundred and twenty years: "(May you) live a long life." [Moses lived to 120]
blood libel
the pernicious libel that the blood of Christian children is used to make kosher wine or matzah
 
b’nai mitzvah
more than one bar/bat mitzvah celebrant
 
boch'r
yeshiva student
 
borscht
cold beet soup
 
Boruch Atoh
"Blessed are You..."
 
boruch haboh
lit.=bless the arrivers: "Welcome!"
 
boychik
(Yid.) boy, term of endearment
 
bracha
blessing
 
B'reshit
Genesis
 
brit (mila)
lit.=covenant: circumcision
b'samim
fragrant spices smelled during Havdala
 
b'shert
destined; one's destined mate/spouse
 
b'tayavon
lit.=in appetite: Bon Appetit!
 
bubbe
(Yid.) grandmother
 
bubbe meiseh
lit.=grandmother's story: old-wive's tale
 
bulvan
(Yid.) ox-like person
 
bupkes
(Yid.) nothing; something worthless
 
b'vakasha
"Please"; "You're welcome."

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C
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 
 
cacamamie
half-baked, silly
 
calla
(Heb.) bride
 
C.E.
Common Era
 
Chabad
see "Lubavitch"
 
chag
holiday, esp. a religious one
 
chai
(Heb.) life
 
challah
braided egg bread for Shabbat and holidays
 
chaloshes
(Yid.) disgusting
 
chalutz
pioneer; early Israeli settler, esp. on kibbutz
 
chamalyeh
(Yid.) punch, hard hit [n]
chametz
leavened products forbidden on Pesach
 
Chanukah
winter holiday for defeating the Syrian Hellenists
 
chanukia
Chanukah menorah
 
charoset
Seder condiment of chopped apples, walnuts, and wine; recalls mortar made by Hebrew slaves in Egypt
 
chas v'sholom
lit.=mercy and peace: "God forbid!"
 
chasana
wedding
 
chasid (pl. chasidim)
member of an Orthodox Jewish sect
 
chatchke(s)
knick-knack(s)
 
chaver
(Heb.) friend
 
chavruta
study partner or group
chaya (ruah)
(wicked) wild animal
 
chayrem
state of excommunication, shunning
 
Chazal
abbr. of Chachomim, Zichronom L'Vracha: our Sages, may their Memories (be) for a Blessing.
chazan
cantor
 
chazer
pig
 
chazerai
(Yid.) disgusting stuff, trash
 
chazuka
claim of ownership based on repeated use
 
cheder
religious lesson, or where it's held
 
chesed
(Heb.) kindness
 
Cheshvan
2nd Jewish month (Oct-Nov)
chevra kadisha
lit.=holy association: burial society
 
chidush
innovation; revelation
chilul HaShem
lit.=defamation of the Name: a scandalous act or statement
 
chinuch
early childhood education
chiyuv
lit.=obligated: one to whom an honor is due in shul
 
chochma
(Heb.) wisdom
 
chochom (pl. chochomim)
sage; wise one
 
chodesh
lit.=new (moon): month
Chol HaMo'ed
middle 4 days of 8-day holidays, esp. Pesach and Sukkot. rules of the holiday apply, but work is permitted.
 
cholent
24-hour stew for Shabbat, holidays, etc.
 
choson
(Heb.) groom
 
chrain
(Yid.) horseradish
 
chug
activity group
 
Chumash
lit.=five: The Five Books of Moses
 
chuppah
wedding canopy
 
churban
destruction, ruin [n]
 
chutzpah
sass, moxy; nerve, gall
chiloni
Israeli non-affiliated Jew
Converso
Jew forced to convert under the Inquistion; a modern descendant living in the southwest U.S.

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D
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 
 
daf yomi
lit.=page of the day: practice of learning a page of Gemara each day
 
darshen
to interpret, esp. in religious issues
 
daven
(Yid.) pray
 
Dayenu
"It Would Have Sufficed," a Seder song; "Enough already!"
 
dayun
(Heb.) judge [n]
 
derech eretz
lit.=the way of the land: courtesy
 
Diaspora
those Jews not living in Israel
 
din
(Heb.) law
 
drasha
sermon
 
dreidel
toy top used on Chanukah
duchan
blessing the congregation [v], done by kohanim
 
D'varim
Deuteronomy
 
dvar Torah
lit.=word of Torah: speech on enlightening biblical passage or any aspect of religious thought
 
dybbuk
(Yid.) dead person's soul inhabiting a living person

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E
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
Eicha
Lamentations
 
Einsatzgruppen
Special Forces of the Nazi Army
 
El Al
lit.=to above: Israel's airline
 
Elul
12th Jewish month (Aug-Sept)
 
emunah
(Heb.) faith
 
eppis
something undefinable, a "you-know-what"
 
Eretz Yisrael
(Heb.) The Land of Israel
Erev...
lit.=evening: the night before, esp. Shabbat or yom tov; like New Year's Eve
 
eruv
series of posts connected with string that fence in an area, making it permissible to carry on Shabbat in that area
 
etrog
citron, used on Sukkot
ezra
(Heb.) help [n]

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F
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
Falasha
lit.=wanderer: derogatory name for Ethiopian Jews
 
far vus
(Yid.) for what, why
 
farblonget
(Yid.) lost
 
farbrengen
(Yid.) party [n], esp. religious or family
 
farbrent
(Yid.) burning; zealous
farfallen
(Yid.) collapsed, fallen in
felafel
pita sandwich with fried chick-pea balls
 
ferdrimmeled
(Yid.) dreaming, daydreaming
 
ferklempt
(Yid.) clenched
 
fermished
(Yid.) mixed up, messed up
ferpitzed
(Yid.) dressed up
 
fershtays
(Yid.) understand
 
fershimmeled
(Yid.) moldy
 
ferschnoshked
(Yid.) drunk
 
fertootsed
(Yid.) over-dressed, overdone
 
fleischig
containing or relating to meat
 
fress
(Yid.) gobble
 
fresser
(Yid.) glutton
 
freylach
(Yid.) festive
 
frosk
(Yid.) slap
 
fumfer
(Yid.) mumble

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G
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
gaon
head of a Babylonian yeshiva; composer of the Talmud
 
gabbai
rabbi's synagogue assistant
Gallil
lit= rolling: the northern, grassy, hilly part of Israel
 
Galut
lit.=exile: where the Diaspora lives
 
Gan Aiden
The Garden of Eden
 
ganev
thief; clever person
 
gan k’tanim
lit.=garden of (the) small (ones): kindergarten
 
gantze megilla
(Yid.) the whole story
gantze mishpocha
(Yid.) the whole family
gartl
(Yid.) belt, sash
 
gefilt croht
stuffed cabbage
 
gefilte fish
fish cakes
 
gelilah
rolling and re-clothing of Torah scroll after hagbah
 
gelt
(Yid.) money, esp. as Chanukah gift
 
Gemara
commentary on the Mishna
gemilut chasadim
acts of kindness
 
genizah
storage/burial for worn-out, but holy, papers, books, etc.
 
ger
convert [n]
 
geshmackt
(Yid.) delicious, lip-smacking
 
geshrai
(Yid.) cry, shout, yell [n]
get
divorce document
 
gezunt
(Yid.) healthy
 
gezuntheit
(Yid.) good health
 
glatt
lit.=smooth: highest level of fleishig kashrut
 
glick
(Yid.) good fortune
 
Goldena Medina
lit.=Golden Country: the United States
 
golem
automaton; mindless person
gomel
one who has just undergone a dangerous experience
 
gorgl
(Yid.) neck
 
gornisht
(Yid.) nothing, emptiness
gottenyu
"Dear God!"
 
grogger
Purim noisemaker

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H
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
HaAretz
lit.=the land: The Land of Israel
 
hachnasat orchim
the welcoming of guests; hospitality
 
hader
(Heb.) pride
 
hadasim
myrtle leaves, used on Succot
 
Haftorah
after Torah reading, a reading from Prophets, usu. related in content or theme to parsha just read
 
hagbah
raising and display of the Torah scroll after reading
 
Hadassah
U.S.-based Jewish women's organization
 
Haggadah
Pesach guidebook, used during Seder
 
hakafot
dances around bimah on Succot [n]
 
hak'n a chainik
lit.=banging a kettle: annoying [v]
 
halachah
Jewish law
 
ha-levai
(Yid.) "If only!"
 
Hallel
holiday prayer of thanks-giving Psalms
 
halvah
sesame candy
 
hamentash(en)
Purim cookie(s), filled with fruit or poppyseeds
 
HaMotzi
the blessing over bread
HaShem
The Name (in place of God’s actual Name)
 
Haskala
19th cent. European Jewish "Enlightenment"
 
HaTikvah
lit.=The Hope: Israel's anthem
 
Havdala
prayer bidding farewell to Shabbat
 
haymish
lit.=home-like: friendly, joyous
 
hefker
abandoned, ownerless
 
Herzl, Theodore
early Zionist, Hebrew-language proponent
 
Holocaust
always capitalized
 
hora
fast, festive circle-dance
hoshanah
prayer for hakafot
 
Hoshanah Rabbah
holiday at end of Succot
hummus
chick-pea paste, a Mid-Eastern dish

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I
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
ikor
core, essence
 
im yirtza HaShem
"God willing."
 
ima
(Heb.) mother
 
Iyar
8th Jewish month (May), 5th is Yom HaAtzma'ut, 18th is Lag BaOmer.

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J
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
Judenrat
council of ghetto Jews charged with picking Jews to give to Nazis for delivery to concentration/death camps

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K
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
Kabalah
lit.=acceptance: Jewish mysticism
 
Kaddish
mourner's prayer
 
kallah
study session
 
kapo
head of a Judenrat
 
kaporah
atonement
 
karpas
vegetables (usu. parsley, celery, potato) dipped in salt water and eaten at Seder
 
kasha
couscous-like dish made of buckwheat
 
kashe
question, esp. on ritual observance
 
kasher
to make kosher, esp. meat or dishes
 
kashrut
the laws of kosher-ness
kapoteh
long, black coat worn by chasidim
 
kedoshim
lit.=holy ones: martyrs
kedushin
the marriage ceremony
 
kehilla
congregation; community
ken ayina hora
lit.=without the evil eye: "Not to jinx it" (said after complimenting)
 
keter Torah
ornamental crown placed on Sefer Torah
 
ketubah
lit.=writ: marriage contract
 
khap
grab, snatch; understand [v]; insight [n]
 
kibbitz
(Yid.) chitchat
 
kibbutz (pl. kibbutzim)
Israeli collective farm
kichel
air-filled cookies
 
kiddish
celebratory meal after synagogue services
 
Kiddush
prayer/blessing for wine
kiddush HaShem
lit.=sanctification of the Name: selfless act, esp. martyrdom
 
Kiddush Lavona
prayer for the new moon
kinder(lach)
(small) children
 
kipah (pl. kipot)
(Heb.) skullcap
 
kiruv
lit.=closeness: outreach
kishka
seasoned mashed potatoes in a casing
 
kishkas
(Yid.) innards; "guts" ("She's got..."; "I feel it in my...")
 
Kislev
3rd Jewish month (Nov-Dec), 25th is Chanukah
 
kitel
white robe, esp. for Pesach and Yom Kippur
 
Klal Yisrael
(Heb.) The Jewish People
klezmer
Yiddish music: part Jewish, part big-band
 
klutz
(Yid.) clumsy one
 
Knesset
Israel's Parliament
 
k'neidlach
thin noodles, esp. for soup
k'nish
puff pastry filled with meat or potatoes
 
ko'ach
strength; endurance, energy
kodesh
(Heb.) holy
 
kohen (pl. kohanim)
descendant of Moses, Aaron; thus, a member of the priest class
 
Kol Nidre
"All Vows," key prayer, by chazan on Erev Yom Kippur
 
korban
(Heb.) holy sacrifice; (Yid.) scapegoat
 
kos
(Heb.) wine goblet
 
kosher
permissible to eat under Jewish law
 
Kotel (HaMa'aravi)
The (Western) Wall
 
kovod
(Heb.) honor [n]
 
kreplach
won tons
 
Kristallnacht
"Night of Broken Glass," Nazi pogrom on Nov.9-10, 1938; the worst pogrom ever, it marked the Holocaust's start
 
kriyah
lit.=rip: the tearing of one’s clothes to signify mourning
 
kriyat haTorah
the reading of the Torah
kugel
casserole, usu. of potatoes or noodles; tease [v, slang]
 
kvell
derive deep pride or intense satisfaction
 
kvetch
whine(r), complain(er)

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L
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
Ladino
the Jewish-Spanish language
Lag BaOmer
the thirty-third day of the Omer, minor spring holiday
 
landsman
fellow native (usu. of place in Old Country)
 
landsmanshaft(en)
organization(s) of fellow natives
 
lashon harah
lit.=bad language: slander, gossip
 
Lashon HaKodesh
lit.=holy tongue: Hebrew
latke
potato pancake, esp. for Chanukah
 
lavayah
lit.=procession: funeral
layn
read from the Torah, etc., with trop
 
l'chaim
"To Life!"
 
lechem
(Heb.) bread
 
lev
(Heb.) heart
 
levi (pl. leviim)
member of the tribe of Levi, but not a descendant of Moses or Aaron; thus, a member of the priest-assistant class
 
licht
lit.=light: Shabbat or yom tov candles
 
Likud
Israeli conservative political party
 
loch in kopf
lit.=a hole in (the) head: "the last thing I need"
 
lochshen
wide noodles, esp. for kugel
 
l'shanah tova
lit.=for a good year: Rosh HaShanah greeting
 
Lubavitch
large and influential chaisidic group focusing on outreach
 
luftmensch
lit=air man: one without visible means of (monetary) support
 
lulav
palm frond. used on Succot

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M
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
Ma'arat HaMachpela
Tomb of the Patriarchs
ma'ariv
evening prayer
 
Maccabi
follower of Judah of the Maccabis
 
maccabiah
Jewish preteen mini-Olympics (cap. if official version)
 
machotin
child's father-in-law
 
machatonim
child's spouse's parents, co-in-laws
 
machatonista
child's mother-in-law
 
macher
lit.=maker: mover-and-shaker
 
machzor
holiday prayerbook, esp. for High Holidays
 
madrich
camp counselor; youth-group leader; tour guide
 
makos
(Heb.) whip-lashes; plagues
Mama Loshon
lit.=mother tongue: Yiddish
mandel brot
almond pastry
 
Ma Nishtanah
"What Distinguishes?" set of children's questions in Haggadah, the "Four Questions"
 
maot chitim
lit.=wheat money: charity given for poor to buy matzah
 
Marrano
lit.=pig: derogatory name for Converso
 
marror
bitter herb eaten on Pesach
matzah (pl. matzot)
unleavened bread, esp. eaten on Pesach
 
matzah brei
French-toasted matzah
 
matzevah
tombstone
 
mayven
expert; know-it-all
 
mazel
lit.=constellation: luck
Mazel Tov
lit.= (a) good star: "Congratulations!"
 
mazik
impish person, esp. a child
mechaya
lit.= which makes live: relief; joy (said of a person, thing, or situation)
 
mechitza
partition between men and women in shul
 
medina
country (the actual territory)
 
Medinat Yisrael
(Heb.) The State of Israel
megillah
(Heb.) Esther, Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Lamentations (Yid.) any long, drawn-out story
Megillah
The Book of Esther
 
melamed
religious teacher, esp. a non-rabbi
 
melaveh malkeh
Shabbat party
 
melech/Melech
king/ capitalize in reference to God
 
menachem avel
lit.=comforting a mourner: paying a condolence call
 
menorah
candelabra, esp. for Chanukah
 
mensch (pl. menschen)
(Yid.) upstanding person
menschlach
decent, morally upright, polite
 
meshuge
(Yid). crazy
 
meshugene
(Yid.) crazy one
 
metziah
lit.=a find: a bargain
mezuzah
biblical passage on a parchment scroll, placed in an ornamental case and affixed to a doorpost
 
Midrash
collection of extra-biblical stories
 
mikvah
ritual bath
 
milchig
dairy
 
mincha
afternoon prayer
 
minyan
quorum of 10 required for certain prayers
 
mishalach manot
gifts of food given on Purim
 
misheberach
blessing of healing given during kriyat haTorah
 
mishpacha
(Heb.) family
 
Mishkan
portable Holy Temple used during Exodus
 
mishmash
eclectic collection or arrangement
 
Mishnah
oral law, parallel to Torah. Written down circa 200 C.E.
 
mitzvah (pl. mitzvot)
religious commandment
 
Mizbe'ach
altar used in Holy Temple
mizrach
east, dir. American Jews face when praying
 
Mizrachi
Orthodox Zionist movement
Mogen David
lit.=Shield of David: Jewish star
 
mohel
one who performs circumcisions
 
Mordechai
hero of Book of Esther
moshav
kibbutz, but with more private property
 
Moshiach
the Messiah
 
moshol
parable, fable, usu. with a moral
 
motzi
see "HaMotzi"
 
muktzah
forbidden on Shabbat, said esp. of an object
 
musaf
lit.=gathered: additional post-shacharit prayers on holidays
 
mussar
constructive criticism

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N
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
na'areshkeit
lit.=adolescent stuff: worthless things or activities
 
nachas
pride, esp. parental pride for children
 
nais
(Heb.) miracle
 
ner tamid
lit.=forever candle: eternal flame, esp. in shul
 
nasi
lit.=prince: head of Biblical tribe or Sanhedrin
 
navi
prophet
 
nazir
ascetic abstainer from wine, haircuts, and contact with death
 
Nevi'im
biblical writings and stories of Prophets
 
nebach
(Yid.) "(Such) a pity!"
nebbish
pitiful person
 
nechomah
(Heb.) pity
 
Negev
the southern, desert part of Israel
 
Ne'ilah
flnal prayer on Yom Kippur
neshoma
(Heb.) soul
 
netilat yadayim
the washing of the hands, esp. before eating bread
 
niggun
tune to which liturgy is sung; wordless melody sung by chasidim
 
Nisan
7th Jewish month (Mar-Apr), 15th starts Pesach, 27th is Yom HaShoah
 
Nine Days
days of mourning leading up to Tisha B'Av
 
nisht gerferalach
lit.=not important: "Don't worry."
 
no-goodnick
a good-for-nothing person
nosh
snack [n,v]
 
nosherai
snack foods; silly, time-wasting stuff
 
nu
(Yid.) "So?"
 
nudge
pest [n], to pester [v]
nudnick
unthinking, inconsiderate person

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O
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
olam
world; universe; everything; forever
 
Olam HaBah
The World to Come
 
oleh (pl. olim)
lit.=ascender: immigrant to Israel
 
Omer
period of 49 days between the second night of Pesach and the first night of Shavuot; first 33 are period of national mourning
 
oneg
party, usu. on Shabbat
(The) O.U.
The Union of Orthodox Rabbis, or its kashrut insignia
 
Oy, gevalt
"Oh, drat!"; "Quick, help!"
Oy, gottenyu
"Oh, God!"
 
Oy, vey
lit.=(it) hurts: "Oh, no!"
Oy, vey is mir
"Oh, woe is me."
 
oysvorf
(Yid.) layabout, ne'er-do-well

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P
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
parnasah
livelihood
 
parsha
chapter, esp. of Torah
parshat hashavua
weekly parsha read in shul; the parsha for a given week
 
parve
status of food containing neither dairy nor meat ingredients; wishy-washy [slang]
 
paskin
to answer a question on religious practice
 
pe'ah
li.=corner: section of field left for poor to glean
 
perek
paragraph, esp. in Torah
perochet
ornamental curtain in front of aron
 
Pesach
Passover, in spring
 
pesachdik
legal for Passover use or consumption
 
Petach Tikva
Israeli city, east of Tel Aviv-- Chicago's Israeli "sister city"
 
peyis
sideburns, esp. long ones worn by chasidim
 
pidyon haben
the redemption of the bachor from Temple service; still done ceremoniously
 
pidyon shvuyim
lit.=the redeption of captives: the rescue of refugees
 
Pirkei Avot
"Ethics of the Fathers," a Mishnaic book of sages' sayings
 
pikuach nefesh
the tenet of violating Jewish law to save a life
 
pintele
(Yid.) lit.=the point of a Jew: the "spark" of Jewishness within all Jews
 
pisk
(Yid.) mouth; loudmouth
pits'l
(Yid.) tiny bit; very young or small child
 
plotz
(Yid.) explode, esp. with intense emotion
 
pogrom
violent, anti-Semitic attack of a Jewish village or area
 
posek
one trusted to made halachic decisions
 
potch
(Yid.) spank
 
potchkied
(Yid.) overdone, overwrought
 
prust
rough, coarse; socially unrefined
 
pupik
(Yid.) navel, belly button
Purim
spring holiday for Book of Esther events
 
punim
(Yid.) face
 
pushka
box or canister for collecting tzedakah

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R
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
rachmanut
(Heb.) mercy
 
rav
term of endearment for rabbi
 
reb/rebbe/rebbie
terms of endearment for rabbi
 
rebbetzin
wife of a rabbi
 
refusenik
one refused an exit visa from the Soviet Union
 
regah
(Heb.) minute; "One minute!"
 
rimon
(Heb.) pomegranate; grenade
rimonim
ornamental cylinders placed on Sefer Torah
 
Rishonim
post-Gemarah-era commentators, incl. Rashi & Maimonides
 
Rosh Chodesh
first day of the new month
Rosh HaShanah
lit.=head of the year: Jewish New Year, autumn holiday
 
ruach
(Heb.) spirit; enthusiasm
ruggelach
croissant-like pastries, usu. w/ chocolate or cinnamon

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S
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
saba
(Heb.) grandfather
 
sabra
(Heb.) prickly-pear fruit
Sabra
native Israeli
 
sakanot nefashot
life-endangerment
 
same'ach
(Heb.) happy
 
savta
(Heb.) grandmother
 
Sanhedrin
ancient rabbinical council of 70 sages
 
saychel
(Yid.) common sense
 
s'chach
loose thatch used for succah roof, must be from plants
 
schav
cold soup of leafy vegetables
 
schlaf
(Yid.) sleep [v]
 
schlemazel
luckless one
 
schlemiel
bumbler, one who "can't do anything right"
 
schlep
carry; drag, lug; drag one's feet; travel a great distance [v], lazy one; unkempt person [n]
schlump
(Yid.) flop [v]; stoop-shouldered person [n]
 
schmaltz
(Yid.) fat, grease, oil; maudlin sentimentality
 
schmateh
(Yid.) rag; cheap piece of clothing
 
schmeggege
disorganized one, one who "doesn't have it together"
 
schmeichl
(Yid.) smile; smooth-talk
schmooze
(Yid.) intimate chat [n]; persuade [v]
 
schmutz
(Yid.) filth, scum
 
schnook
unscrupulous one; cheater, crook
 
schpiel
(Yid.) story; sales pitch
schpilkes
lit.=pins: anxiousness
schtick
bit, piece; comic act; eccentricity
 
schtickl(ach)
little bit(s) or piece(s)
schtiebl
small synagogue, often a storefront or private home
 
schtreiml
round, fur-edged hat worn by chasidim
 
seder
Pesach ceremonial meal
sedrah
reading from Tanach
 
sefer
(Heb.) book, esp. of religious topic
 
Sefer Torah
the Torah scroll itself
sefirat haOmer
counting of the days of the Omer
 
Sephardi
of Mediterranean Jewish tradition
 
se'udah
feast [n], esp. for Shabbat or holiday
 
sha
"Shh! Quiet!"
 
Shabbat
the Sabbath
 
shacharit
morning prayer
 
shadchan
matchmaker
 
shailah
question, esp. on religious matters
 
shaliach
messenger; representative; ambassador; Israeli delegate to community, youth group, synagogue, etc.
 
shaliach tzibur (abbr. shatz)
lit.=messenger of (the) congregation: cantor
 
shalom
peace; "Hello/Goodbye"
shalom aleichem
lit.=peace to you: "Hello" (response is "aleichem, shalom")
 
shalom bayit
lit.=peace of the house: domestic harmony
 
shalosh se'udot
third and last meal of Shabbat
 
shamos
assistant synagogue manager
shamosh
candle that kindles the Chanukah candles
 
shanda
(Yid.) disgrace, scandal
Shavuot
holiday for receiving the Torah, in autumn
 
shayna maideleh
(Yid.) beautiful girl
 
Sh'china
God's presence
 
shchita
kosher slaughtering
 
shecht
slaughter, esp. in a kosher manner; to defeat soundly, as in sports [slang]
 
Shehecheyanu
blessing for annual, lifetime, or historic events
 
sheket
(Heb.) quiet, silence
 
Shema
lit.=Hear (O, Israel): a key Jewish prayer
 
Sheva B'rachot
set of seven blessings said at weddings and at parties for one week after
 
sheytl
(Yid.) wig, esp. for married women
 
shidduch
match (see shadchan)
 
shira (pl. shirim)
(Heb.) song
 
shiva
period of mourning observed for seven days after a family member's funeral
 
Shiv-asor B'Tamuz
17th of Tamuz, summer fast day for destruction of Holy Temple
 
shloshim
period of mourning observed for thirty days after a family member's funeral
 
Sh'mini Atzeret
eighth day of Succot, a holiday
 
shmita
Shabbat of the land: every seventh year, when Israeli land lies fallow
 
Shmonah Esrei
lit.=18: 19-blessing (1 was added later) shacharit Amidah
 
Shmot
Exodus (2nd bk. of Torah)
Shoah
lit.=destruction: The Holocaust
 
shochet
slaughterer who slaughters in the kosher manner
 
shofar
ram's horn, blown like a bugle on holidays
 
shok’l
sway meditatively during prayers
 
shul
synagogue
 
shtetl
Eastern European Jewish village
 
Shulchan Aruch
lit.=set table: Code of Jewish Law
 
shvach
(Yid.) weak; tepid, unsubstantial
 
sh'varim
shofar blast of three short sounds
 
Shvat
5th Jewish month (Jan-Feb), 15th is Tu B'Shvat
 
shvitz
sweat [v]; sauna [n]
 
siddur
daily prayerbook
 
simcha
happiness; special happy occasion, esp. bris, wedding, etc.
 
Simchat Torah
holiday celebrating the Torah, in autumn
 
Sivan
9th Jewish month (May-Jun), 5th and 6th are Shavuot
 
sivivon
(Heb.) dreidle, esp. in Israel
 
siyum
completion of the study of a section of scripture; a celebration thereupon
 
slicha
forgiveness; "Forgive me/Pardon me"
 
Slichot
prayers of repentance said around High Holidays
 
smicha
rabbinic ordination
 
sofer
scribe; author
 
S.S.
the Nazi infantry, "Brownshirts"
 
succah (pl. succot)
outdoor booth lived in on Succot
 
Succot
harvest holiday, in autumn

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T
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
tachlis
(Yid.) essence, substance; worth; basics, "brass tacks"
 
takkah
(Yid.) really
 
talit (pl. taliot)
prayer shawl
 
Talmud
Mishna with its relevant Gemara, bound together
 
Tamuz
10th Jewish month (Jun-Jul), 17th is Shiv-asor B'Tamuz
 
Tana'im
lit.=teachers: compilers of Mishna
 
tante
(Yid.) aunt
 
tarfos
that which is trayf
 
Tashlich
Rosh HaShanah practice of throwing bread, etc. into water, symbolically casting away our sins
techina
sesame paste, a Mid-Eastern food
 
tefillah
prayer
 
tefillin
biblical passages on parchment scrolls, placed in small boxes and affixed with leather straps, worn during prayer
 
Tehillim
Psalms
 
teiglach
small, fruit- or nut-filled pastries, dipped in honey
 
teretz
reason, explanation
 
Tevet
4th Jewish month (Jan), 10th is Asoroh B'Tevet
 
Three Weeks
period of mourning from Shiv-asor B'Tamuz to Tisha B'Av
 
thirty-nine melochot
39 categories of "work" prohibitted on Shabbat
 
tichel
kerchief; headcovering, esp. for married women
 
tikun
study book for layning
tikun layl Shavuot
all-night study session on the eve of Shavuot
 
tikun olam
the repair or completion of the world
 
tikva
(Heb.) hope
 
Tisha B'Av
the 9th of Av, a major fast day for the destruction of the Holy Temples, in summer
 
Tishrei
1st Jewish month (Sep-Oct), 1st is Rosh HaShanah, 10th is Yom Kippur, 15th is Succot, 22nd is Sh'mimi Atzeret, 23rd is Simchat Torah
 
t'kia
shofar blast of one long sound
 
todah (rabbah)
"Thank you (very much)"
Torah
the written Jewish law
tractate
section of the Talmud
 
trayf
lit.=torn: not kosher
 
trop
marks indicating musical notes for chanting the Torah, etc.
 
tru'a
shofar blast of nine staccato sounds
 
truma
tenth of a crop, given to kohanim
 
Tu B'Shvat
the 15th of Shvat, Jewish Arbor Day
 
tuchus
lit.=under: buttocks
 
tzadik
righteous person, esp. a rabbi.
 
tzadreit
(Yid.) mixed up
 
tzar ba'aleh chaim
the suffering of living things
 
tzedakah
lit.=justice: charity
 
tzibur
congregation
 
tzimis
carrot/pineapple compote, usu. with raisins or prunes; a hullabaloo [slang]
 
tzitzit
fringes worn on the corners of a four-cornered garment; the garment and fringes together
 
tzniut
modesty, esp. of dress
tzom
day of fasting
 
tzuros
(Yid.) pains; troubles, problems, distresses
 
tzutzik
(Yid.) ambitious or energetic person
 
Tzvah Haganah L'Yisrael (Tzahal)
Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Israel's army

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U
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
ulpan
Hebrew-language course, esp. in Israel
 
ungebloozen
(Yid.) surly

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V
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
Vaad...
Committee (or Council) of...
 
Vayikra
Leviticus
 
viduy
confession to God of a sin
vilde chaya
(Yid.) wild animal; uncontrolled person

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Y
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
yad (pl. yaddayim)
lit.=hand: Torah pointer
Yad VaShem
lit.=hand and name: Israeli Holocaust Museum
 
yam
pron. "yom": (Heb.) sea
Yam HaMelech
(...of salt) the Dead Sea
Yam HaGadol
(...the large one) the Mediterranean Sea
 
Yam Kinneret
(...shaped like a harp) Sea of Galilee
 
Yam Suf
(...the final one) the Red Sea
 
yarmulke
pron. "yamaka": (Yid.) skullcap
 
yartzeit
anniversary of a death
yasher ko'ach
lit.=(go) straight, (as) strong: "Good job! Keep up the good work!"
 
yente
gossipy one [n]
 
yerusha
inheritance; heritage
 
Yerushalayim
(Heb.) Jerusalem
 
yeshiva (pl. yeshivot)
Talmudic seminary
 
yeshiva boch'r
seminary student
 
yeshuv
Israeli town
 
yetzer tov/harah
good/evil impulse
 
Yetziat Mitzrayim
(Heb.) Exodus from Egypt
Yiddishkeit
Jewishness
 
yisrael
member of a tribe other than Levi; thus a member of the nonpriest class
 
Yisrael
(Heb.) Israel
 
Yizkor
communal service for personal mourning
 
yom
pron. "yome": (Heb.) day
Yom HaAtzma'ut
Israel Independence Day
Yom HaShoah
Holocaust Memorial Day
Yom HaZikaron
Israel Memorial Day
 
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement, in autumn
yom tov
lit.=good day: holiday
Yom Yerushalayim
Jerusalem Reunification Day
Yomim Nora'im
High Holidays, Rosh HaShanah & Yom Kippur
 
yored (pl. yordim)
lit.=descender: emigrant from Israel (considered impolite)
 
Yovel
every 50th yr.; see shmita (trans. Jubilee)

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Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 
za'atar
an Israeli spice
 
zachor
remember
 
zecher
in remembrance of
 
zecher tzadik livracha (abbr. zt"l)
"(May) the memory of the righteous (be) for a blessing." Said of deceased rabbis
 
zechut
merit, worth
 
zeide
(Yid.) grandfather
 
zhlub
(Yid.) slob
 
zichrono livracha (abbr. z"l)
"(May) his/her memory (be) for a blessing." Said of the deceased
 
zmirah (pl. zmirot)
Shabbat song
 
Zohar
major tract of Kabbalah

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