Literally, “scribe;” calligrapher of a sefer Torah or other sacred writings, e.g., the enclosures in a mezuzah, M’gillat Esther, etc.
"Jelly doughnuts;" traditionally eaten in Israel during Hanukkah; singular: sufganiyah.
"Booth" or "hut;" temporary structure associated with the agricultural festival of Sukkot; plural: sukkot.
Seven-day fall agricultural festival associated with temporary booths or huts.
(Counting of the omer): An omer is a biblical measurement of grain. The counting of the omer is 49-day period that begins on the second night of Passover during which each day is counted with a blessing. On the 50th day, the Festival of Shavuot is observed.
treyf, treif, trefe
"torn apart" (Yiddish); food that is not ritually fit; opposite of kosher.
The Jewish legal work that comprises the Mishnah and the Gemara. There are two works of Talmud: The Palestinian Talmud was compiled between 200-450 C.E. in the land of Israel and is also called the Jerusalem Talmud or Talmud Yerushalmi. The Babylonian Talmud or Talmud Bavli was compiled in Babylonia between 200-550 C.E.
Tenakh, Tenak, Tanach, Tanakh
Acronym for the Hebrew Bible, constructed from the first letters of its three sections: Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim.
"Casting away;" A traditional ceremony held during the Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe), usually on the first day of Rosh HaShanah, in which individuals symbolically “cast away” their sins or wrongdoings from the past year by throwing breadcrumbs into a flowing body of water.
"Phylacteries." Leather boxes and straps worn by religious Jews daily except on Shabbat, holidays, and fast days. "Laying tefillin" is the expression commonly used for putting them on.
Lit. "conditions." Refers to an engagement and betrothal document signed by both families stipulating terms and the date of the wedding.
"Return;" The concept of repentance and new beginnings, which is a continuous theme throughout the High Holidays.
Immersion in a ritual bath (mikvah) or any natural body of water which also can serve as a mikvah.
Jewish communities outside Israel.
The justification of God's goodness, power and omniscience in light of the suffering of the innocent and evil.
Tikkun Leil Shavuot
A celebration specific to the holiday of Shavuot, it includes a late-night – or even all-night – study of Torah and Jewish texts that commemorates receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai.
"Repair of the world;" Jewish concept that it is our responsibility to partner with God to improve the world. A mystical concept of restoration of God's holiest Name to itself and the repair of a shattered world. Often refers to social action and social justice.
"Ninth of Av;" A traditional day of mourning the destruction of both ancient Temples in Jerusalem.
"Ninth of Av."
A day of mourning for the destruction of the First Temple and the Second temple in Jerusalem in ancient times. It is observed as a minor fast day. It falls in late July or early August and is observed in some, but not all, Reform communities.
Seventh month on the Hebrew calendar; Rosh HaShanah falls on the first day of this month.
Literally “instruction” or “teaching.” The first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy); the handwritten scroll that contains the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Also called the Pentateuch and The Five Books of Moses. “Torah” is also used to refer to the entire body of Jewish religious teachings and insight.
Musical notations or cantillation marks used to chant Torah, Prophets, and Writings.
"15th of Shevat;" New Year of the Trees; Jewish Arbor Day, which is a minor festival.
From the Hebrew word for “justice,” or “righteousness;” refers to charity or charitable giving. May also be translated as “righteous giving.”
Container for collecting money for charitable purposes. It is customary to place money in a tzedakah box prior to candlelighting in the home.
The "justification of God" prayer recited at burial.
Fringes, tied in a specific way on the four corners of a tallit or prayer shawl. The purpose of tzitizit is to remind Jews of the mitzvot (commandments).
Literally, “easy fast.” A customary greeting for Yom Kippur, a fast day.
Literally, “blast” or “blowing of a horn;” it is a note of the shofar call.
Literally the “great” t’kiah, this is the longest, deepest call of the shofar heard as the final shofar blast on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.
Literally, “shout;” one of the shofar blasts. It is composed of a series of nine short blasts.
Intensive Hebrew course.
"Guests" (Aramaic); mythic guests invited to the sukkah.
"Confession;" liturgical prayer recited throughout Yom Kippur; confessional said before death.
Literally, “and you shall love.” Verses from Deuteronomy 6:5-9 that are recited as part of the prayer service, immediately after the Shema. The beginning words are: “You shall love the Eternal with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.”
An area of land on the west bank of the Jordan River that was captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.
A decorative garment in the form of a long sash made from the baby's swaddling cloth. In pre-Shoah (pre-Holocasut) Eastern Europe, fabric from the clothing that swaddled an infant at his b'rit milah was made into a wimple that could be used as a Torah binder. The wimple was used to wrap the Torah at the child's consecration and at his bar mitzvah, and was included in the fabric to make the wedding chuppah. Almost extinguished during the Shoah, the tradition of the wimple has been revived in contemporary Jewish culture. Now, Jewish parents and grandparents make wimples for both boys and girls. Sometimes the wimple is still made from the swaddling cloth. More commonly now, the baby is swaddled in the wimple itself.
The third section of the Tanach, found after the Torah, and Prophets. This section includes Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the Five Scrolls (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther), Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles I and II.
“breaking.” A step of the Pesach (Passover) seder when a whole piece of matzah is broken in half. The larger half is set aside as the afikoman. Often younger participants are involved in a game of “find the afikoman.”
Literally, “hand.” The pointer, often a hand with the index finger extended, used by the Torah reader to keep one’s place in the scroll and to avoid touching the ink on the scroll.
Memorial candle lit on the anniversary of a loved one's death and also on days when Yizkor is recited.