Words

Conversion

  • giyur – conversion process
  • ger tzedek – righteous convert
  • beit din – court of 3 Jews
  • mikvah – ritual pool of immersion
  • tevillah – immersion
  • hatafat dam brit – circumcised male converts have a ritual circumcision with a drop of blood taken from the glans

Terms for G-d

  • Adonai – our L-rd
  • Avinu malkeinu – our father, our king is used during the High Holy Days
  • El – g-d
  • Elohim – our g-d
  • HaKadosh Barukh Hu – the holy One, blessed be He
  • HaShem – literally, the name, so as to avoid unnecessarily profaning G-d’s name
  • Ribono Shel Olam – master of the universe
  • Shekhinah – the feminine presence of G-d, the dwelling place in the Temple in Jerusalem

Jewish Values

  • Bikur holim – visiting the sick
  • Chesed – acts of loving kindness
  • Hakhnasat Orhim – welcoming the guests, hospitality
  • ma-asim tovim – good deeds
  • nihum avelim – comforting mourners
  • tzedek – justice, righteousness
  • tzedakah – charity, good deeds

Jewish Terms

  • aggadah – narrative in the Talmud
  • derek eretz – “the way of the land”, customs of the country
  • halakha – Jewish law
  • kabbalat ol mitzvot – accepting the yoke of the commandments
  • mishpat – judgment or justice
  • mitzvot – commandments, good deeds
  • simchah shel mitzvah – the joy of performing the commandments
  • hag – holiday
  • yom tov – holiday (literally, good day)
  • chol hamoed – weekdays of the festivals
  • yom tov sheni – the second day of holidays celebrated by some movements in the Diaspora

Shabbat

  • Kabbalat Shabbat – Friday evening service welcoming the Sabbath
  • Kiddush – blessing over wine
  • Menuchah – rest
  • Hadlakat nerot – blessing over candles
  • Havdalah – ceremony that ends Shabbat
  • Melakhah – work, specifically 39 creative kinds that are prohibited on the Sabbath

High Holy Days

  • Yamim Noraim – Days of Awe
  • Mahzor – prayer book for Yom Kippur and Rosh HaShannah
  • Aseret Y’mei Teshuvah – ten days of repentence
  • Rosh HaShannah – Jewish New Year
  • Shofar – ram’s horn blown during Rosh HaShannah
  • Teshuvah – repentance
  • Yom HaDin – Day of Judgment (Rosh HaShannah)
  • Tzom – fast
  • Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement
  • Kol Nidrei – Friday evening service on the Eve of Yom Kippur

Sukkot

  • Sukkah – booth lived in during the holiday
  • Arba-ah Minim – four species of plants needed for the holiday’s mitzvot
  • Lulav – branch of the date palm tree, one of the four species
  • Etrog – citron, one of the four species
  • geshem prayer – prayer for rain

Other Fall Holidays

  • Shemini Atzeret – holiday right after Sukkot, to congregate Israel a little longer
  • Simchat Torah – holiday celebrating the completion of the annual Torah reading cycle
  • Hakafot – dancing with the Torah

Hanukah

  • Latkas – fried potato pancakes consumed during the holiday
  • Hannukiyah – 8-branched candlebra
  • Dreidel – top used to play a game of the same name

Purim

  • Magillat esther – scroll of Ester read on the holiday
  • Grogger – noise maker used to drown out the name of the villain
  • Hamantaschen – triangle cookies consumed on the holiday
  • Mishlo’ah manot – Purim packages exchanged by friends
  • Purim se’udah – festive meal

Pesach

  • Hag HaMatzot – another name for Pesach  (literally, the holiday of the matzot)
  • Matzah – unleavened bread consumed during the holiday
  • Maror – bitter herbs eaten during the seder
  • Hametz – leavened product forbidden during the holiday
  • Seder – traditional ritual meal
  • Haroset – apple-wine mixture consumed during the seder
  • Haggadah – book used to tell the story of Passover
  • Korban pesach – the Passover sacrifice
  • Karpas – green vegetable used during the seder
  • Beitzah – roasted egg
  • Four Questions – a memorable time during the telling of the story
  • Dayeinu – famous song typically sung during the seder
  • Omer – the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot, counted as a means of preparing one’s self to receive the Torah

Other Spring/Summer Holidays

  • Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Memorial Day
  • Yom Ha’Atzma’ut – Israeli Independence Day
  • Yom Yerushalayim – day celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem with the state of Israel

Birth

  • Brith Milah – covenant of circumcision
  • Mohel – ritual circumciser
  • Sandek – honored individual who holds the baby during a circumcision
  • Simhat HaBat – ceremony welcoming a daughter and naming

 

Adult Life

  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah – son/daughter of the commandments
  • Haftarah – section of the Tanakh chanted on the day of a bar/bat mitzvah

 

Marriage

  • Kiddushin – betrothal
  • Chuppah – marriage canopy
  • Ketubah – marriage contract
  • Sheva B’rakhot – seven blessings
  • Aufruf – ceremony where groom is called up for an aliyah prior to marriage

 

Death

  • Tohorah – system of ritual purity
  • Kevurah – mitzvah of burial
  • Kriah – tearing a piece of clothing
  • Shivah – seven days of mourning
  • Shloshim – 30 days of mourning
  • Kaddish – mourner’s prayer

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