Listed Alphabetically

Aaron/Aharon-
Older brother of Moses. Founder of the priesthood, and the first Kohein Gadol (High Priest). He helped Moses lead the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.

Abba-
(Heb.) A Hebrew term meaning Father.

Abraham/Avraham (Abram)-
The first Jew, the founder of Judaism, the physical and spiritual ancestor of the Jewish people. One of the three Patriarchs of Judaism.

Adar-
The twelfth month of the Jewish year, occurring in February/March.

Adoshem-
A substitute for a name of God. A combination of Adonai (Lord) and HaShem (the name).

Afikomen-
From Greek meaning "dessert." A half piece of matzah set aside during the Passover Seder, which is later hidden by children and then ransomed by parents, or hidden by parents and found by children. It is eaten as the last part of the meal.

Ahava-
(Heb.) A Hebrew term which means Love.

Ainikle-
(Yid.) A Yiddish term which means grandchild.

Akiba (uh-KEE-buh)-
One of the greatest rabbis recorded in the Talmud.

Alefbet (AH-lef-bet)-
The Hebrew alphabet. The name is derived from the first two letters of the alefbet.

Aliyah (uh-LEE-uh; ah-lee-AH)-
Lit. ascension. 1) Reading from the Torah; (or reciting a blessing over the reading) during services, which is considered an honor (generally referred to in English as having or getting an aliyah and pronounced uh-LEE-uh).
2) Immigrating to Israel (generally referred to in English as making aliyah and pronounced ah-lee-AH).

Amidah (uh-MEE-duh)-
Lit. standing. A prayer that is the center of any Jewish religious service. Also known as the Shemoneh Esrei or the Tefilah.

Aninut-
The period of mourning between the time of death and the time of burial.

Anti-Semitism-
The term "anti-Semitism" comes from the roots "anti" (against) and "Semite" (a term that applies to both Hebrews and Arabs). However, the word "anti-Semitism" is used specifically to refer to hatred of Jews and Judaism. Although the Holocaust is the best-known example of anti-Semitism, it is only the latest in a long and tragic history of expulsions, forced conversions, limitations of civil and political rights, lies and slanders such as the infamous Blood Libel and mass murders like the Russian pogroms and the mob violence incidental to the Crusades.

Aron Kodesh (AH-rohn KOH-desh)-
Lit. holy chest. The cabinet where the Torah scrolls are kept.

Aseret HaDibrot-
The Ten Commandments.

Asher-
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Ashkenazic Jews (ahsh-ken-AH-zik)-
Jews from eastern France, Germany and Eastern Europe, and their descendants.

Av-
The fifth month of the Jewish year, occurring in July/August. See Months of the Jewish Year.

Avelut-
The year of mourning after the burial of a parent.

Ba'al Shem Tov (bahl shem tohv)-
Lit. Master of the Good Name. Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer. The founder of Chasidic Judaism.

Bar Kokhba (BAHR KOHKH-buh)-
Aramaic: Son of a Star. Simeon ben Kosiba, the leader of the last and most successful Jewish rebellion against Rome in 132-135 C.E. He died in battle when the rebellion was defeated. Rabbi Akiba believed he was the Moshiach (Messiah).

Bar Mitzvah (BAHR MITS-vuh)-
Lit. son of the commandment. A boy who has achieved the age of 13 and is consequently obligated to observe the commandments.

Bat Mitzvah (BAHT MITS-vuh)-
Lit. daughter of the commandment. A girl who has achieved the age of 12 and is consequently obligated to observe the commandments.

B.C.E.-
Before the Common (or Christian) Era. Another way of saying B.C.

Beit Din (BAYT DIN)-
Lit. house of judgment. A rabbinical court made up of three rabbis who resolve business disputes under Jewish law and determine whether a prospective convert is ready for conversion.

Beit Hillel (BAYT HIL-el; BAYT hil-EL)-
Lit. House of Hillel. A school of thought during the Talmudic period, generally contrasted with the stricter, more legalistic views of Beit Shammai.

Beit Knesset (BAYT K'NESS-et)-
Lit. house of assembly. A Hebrew term for a synagogue.

Beit Midrash (BAYT MID-rahsh)-
Lit. house of study. A place set aside for study of sacred texts such as the Torah and the Talmud, generally a part of the synagogue or attached to it.

Beit Shammai (BAYT SHAH-mahy)-
Lit. House of Shammai. A school of thought during the Talmudic period, generally contrasted with the more lenient, humanistic views of Beit Hillel.

Benjamin-
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Bentsch (BENTSCH)
Yiddish: bless. To recite a blessing. Usually refers to the recitation of the birkat ha-mazon (grace after meals).

Berakhah (B'RUHKH-khah; b'ruhkh-KHAH); pl: Berakhot (b'ruhkh-KHOHT)
A blessing. A prayer beginning with the phrase "barukh atah..." (blessed art Thou...).

Bimah (BEE-muh)
The pedestal on which the Torah scrolls are placed when they are being read in the synagogue; i.e., the pulpit.

Birkat Ha-Mazon (BEER-kaht hah mah-ZOHN)
Lit. blessing of the food. Grace after meals. The recitation of birkat ha-mazon is commonly referred to as bentsching.

B'nai Mitzvah (b'NEHY MITS-vuh)
Lit. children of the commandment. Plural of Bar Mitzvah. Children who have achieved the age of 13 and are consequently obligated to observe the commandments.

Brit Milah (BRIT MEE-lah)-
Lit. covenant of circumcision. The ritual circumcision of a male Jewish child on the 8th day of his life or of a male convert to Judaism. Frequently referred to as a bris.

C.E. -
Common (or Christian) Era. Used instead of A.D.

Chag Sameach (KHAHG sah-MEHY-ahkh)-
Hebrew. Literally, joyous festival. A greeting for any holiday, but especially Sukkot, Shavu'ot and Pesach (Passover).

Chai (KHAHY, rhymes with Hi!)-
Lit. living or life. The word is often used as a design on jewelry and other ornaments. Donations to charity are often made in multiples of 18, the numerical value of the word.

Challah (KHAH-luh)-
A sweet, eggy, yellow bread, usually braided, which is served on Shabbat and holidays.

Chametz (KHUH-mitz)-
Lit. leaven. Leavened grain products, which may not be owned or consumed during Passover.

Chanukkah (KHAH-nik-uh; KHAH-noo-kah)-
Lit. dedication. An eight day holiday celebrating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after it was defiled by the Selucid Greeks.

Chanukkat Ha-Bayit (KHAH-noo-KAHT hah BAHY-eet)-
Lit. dedication of the house. A brief ceremony dedicating a Jewish household, during which the mezuzah is affixed to the doorposts.

Chanukkiah (KHAH-noo-KEE-ah)-
A name sometimes use for a Chanukkah menorah.

Charoset (khah-ROH-set; khah-ROH-ses)-
A mixture of fruit, wine and nuts eaten at the Passover seder to symbolize mortar used by the Jewish slaves in Egypt.

Chas v'Sholom -
Lit. mercy and peace. It is a phrase often used like “G-d Forbid.”

Chasidism (KHAH-sid-ism); Chasidic (khah-SID-ic)-
From the word "Chasid" meaning "pious." A branch of Orthodox Judaism that maintains a lifestyle separate from the non-Jewish world.

Chazzan (KHAH-zen)-
Cantor. The person who leads the congregation in prayer. May be a professional or a member of the congregation.

Chaver-
A Hebrew term meaning friend.

Chesed-
A Hebrew term meaning Kindness.

Chillul Ha-Shem (khil-LOOL hah SHEM)-
Lit. profanation of the Name. Causing G-d or Judaism to come into disrespect, or causing a person to violate a commandment.

Chol Ha-Mo'ed (KHOHL hah MOH-ed; KHOHL hah moh-AYD)-
The intermediate days of Passover and Sukkot, when work is permitted.

Chukkim (khook-EEM)-
Jewish religious laws for which no reason is given in the Torah. Some believe that they are meant to show our obedience to G-d. (A possible example would be the laws of Kashrut)

Chumash (KHUH-mish)-
Lit. five. A compilation of the first five books of the Bible and readings from the prophets, organized in the order of the weekly Torah portions.

Chuppah (KHU-puh)-
The wedding canopy, symbolic of the groom's home, under which the nisuin portion of the wedding ceremony is performed.

Conservative-
One of the major movements of Judaism, accepting the binding nature of Jewish law but believing that the law can change.

Counting of the Omer-
The counting of the days between Passover and Shavu'ot.

Dan-
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Daven (DAH-ven)-
Yiddish: Pray. Observant Jews daven three times a day, in addition to reciting blessings over many common activities.

Days of Awe-
Ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, a time for introspection and considering the sins of the previous year.

Diaspora-
Any place outside of the land of Israel where Jews live. Refers to the fact that Jews were dispersed from the land of Israel by the Romans after the last Jewish War. The Hebrew/Yiddish term for this is "galut" (pronounced gah-LOOT or gah-LOOS).

Dreidel-
A top-like toy used to play a traditional Chanukkah game.

Dreyfus, Captain Alfred-
A Jewish officer in the French military who was unjustly convicted of passing secrets to the Germans. His trial sparked a wave of anti-Jewish sentiment that inspired the early Zionist political movement.

Ein Sof (ayn sohf)-
Lit. without end. In Jewish mysticism, the true essence of G-d, which is so transcendent that it cannot be described and cannot interact directly with the universe.

Elokaynu-
A substitute for a name of G-d.

Elul-
The sixth month of the Jewish year, a time of repentance in preparation for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Ephraim-
1) Son of Joseph. Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Esau-
Son of Isaac; older twin brother of Jacob (Israel). He had little respect for the traditions of his ancestors, and sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew.

Esther-
One of the heroes of the story of Purim. Also, the book in the Bible that tells her story.

Etrog (ET-rohg)-
A citrus fruit native to Israel, used to fulfill the commandment to "rejoice before the L-rd" during Sukkot.

Fleishig (FLAHYSH-ig)-
Yiddish: meat. Used to describe kosher foods that contain meat and therefore cannot be eaten with dairy. See Kashrut - Separation of Meat and Dairy.

G-d-
A way of avoiding writing a name of G-d, to avoid the risk of the sin of erasing or defacing the Name. See The Name of G-d, The Nature of G-d.

Gad-
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Galut (gah-LOOT or gah-LOOS)-
Lit. exile or captivity. Any place outside of the land of Israel where Jews live. Refers to the fact that Jews were exiled from the land of Israel by the Romans after the last Jewish War.

Gan Eden-
Lit. Garden of Eden. A place of spiritual reward for the righteous dead. This is not the same place where Adam and Eve lived.

Gehinnom (g'hee-NOHM); Gehenna (g'HEHN-uh)-
A place of spiritual punishment and/or purification for a period of up to 12 months after death. Gehinnom is the Hebrew name; Gehenna is Yiddish.

Gemara (g'-MAHR-uh)-
Commentaries on the Mishnah. The Mishnah and Gemara together are the Talmud.

Gematria (g'-MAH-tree-uh)-
A field of Jewish mysticism finding hidden meanings in the numerical value of words.

Get (GET)-
A writ of divorce. Also called a sefer k'ritut.

Guide for the Perplexed-
Rambam's masterpiece of Jewish philosophy and theology, written from the perspective of an Aristotelian philosopher.

Gut Shabbes (GUT SHAH-biss)-
Yiddish. Literally, good Sabbath. A general, all-purpose shabbat greeting. See Common Expressions and Greetings.

Gut Yontiff (GUT YAHN-tiff)-
Yiddish. Literally, good holiday. A general, all-purpose holiday greeting.

Haftarah (hahf-TOH-ruh)-
Lit. conclusion. A reading from the Prophets, read along with the weekly Torah portion.

Haggadah (huh-GAH-duh)-
The book read during the Passover Seder, telling the story of the holiday.

Halakhah (huh-LUHKH-khuh)-
Lit. the path that one walks. Jewish law. The complete body of rules and practices that Jews are bound to follow, including biblical commandments, commandments instituted by the rabbis, and binding customs. See also Torah, A List of the 613 Mitzvot.

Hallel-
Lit. praise G-d. Psalms 113-118, in praise of G-d, which are recited on certain holidays.

Ha-Shem (hah SHEM)-
Lit. The Name. The Name of G-d, which is not pronounced. The phrase "ha-Shem" is often used as a substitute for G-d's Name.

Hatafat Dam Brit (hah-tah-FAHT DAHM BRIT)-
A symbolic circumcision of a person who has already been circumcised or who was born without a foreskin. It involves taking a pinprick of blood from the tip of the penis.

Ha-Tikvah-
Lit. The Hope. The anthem of the Zionist movement and the state of Israel.

Havdalah (Hahv-DAH-luh)-
Lit. separation, division. A ritual marking the end of Shabbat or a holiday.

Herzl, Theodor-
The founder of the Zionist political movement in the late 1800s.

High Holidays-
The holidays of Rosh Hashanah, the Days of Awe and Yom Kippur are commonly referred to as the High Holidays or the High Holy Days.

Hoshanah Rabba (hoh-SHAH-nuh RAH-buh)-
Lit. great hosanna. The seventh day of Sukkot, on which seven circuits are made around the synagogue reciting a prayer with the refrain, "Hosha na!" (please save us!).

Isaac-
Son and spiritual heir of Abraham. Father of Jacob (Israel). One of the three Patriarchs of Judaism.

Ishmael-
Firstborn son of Abraham by Sarah's Egyptian maidservant, Hagar. According to both Muslim and Jewish tradition, he is the ancestor of the Arabs.

Israel-
1) The land that G-d promised to Abraham and his descendants.
2) The northern kingdom that was home to the "ten lost tribes."
3) Alternate name for Jacob.
4) A country in the Middle East located in the ancient homeland that has a predominantly Jewish population and government.

Issachar-
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Iyar-
The second month of the Jewish year, occurring in April/May.

Jacob (Israel)-
Son of Isaac. Father of twelve sons, who represent the tribes of Judaism. One of the three Patriarchs of Judaism.

Joseph-
Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of two of the tribes of Israel. He was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, but became powerful in Egypt and paved the way for his family's settlement there.

Judah
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name;
3) The Southern Kingdom after the death of Solomon when Israel was split into two kingdoms; the Kingdom of Judah included the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and part of the tribe of Levi.

Judah Ha-Nasi (JOO-duh hah NAH-see)-
Compiler of the Mishnah.

Kabbalah (kuh-BAH-luh)-
Lit. tradition. Jewish mystical tradition.

Kaddish (KAH-dish)-
Aramaic: holy. A prayer in Aramaic praising G-d, commonly associated with mourning practices. See also Jewish Liturgy.

Kashrut (KAHSH-rut; KAHSH-root; kahsh-ROOT)-
From a root meaning "fit," "proper" or "correct." Jewish dietary laws.

Kavanah (kuh-VAH-nuh; kah-vah-NAH)-
Concentration, intent. The frame of mind required for prayer or performance of a mitzvah.

Kavod Ha-Met (kuh-VOHD hah MAYT)-
Lit. respect for the dead. One of the purposes of Jewish practices relating to death and mourning.

Keriyah (k'REE-yuh)-
Lit. tearing. The tearing of one's clothes upon hearing of the death of a close relative.

Ketubah (k'TOO-buh)-
Lit. writing. The Jewish marriage contract.

Kiddush (KID-ish)-
Lit. sanctification. A prayer recited over wine sanctifying Shabbat or a holiday.

Kiddush Ha-Shem (ki-DOOSH hah SHEM)-
Lit. sanctification of The Name. Any deed that increases the respect accorded to G-d or Judaism, especially martyrdom.

Kiddushin-
Lit. sanctification. The first part of the two-part process of Jewish marriage, which creates the legal relationship without the mutual obligations.

Kippah (KEY-puh)-
The skullcap head covering worn by Jews during services, and by some Jews at all times, more commonly known as a yarmulke.

Kislev-
The ninth month of the Jewish year, occurring in November/December. See Months of the Jewish Year.

Kitniyot (kit-NEE-yot; kit-NEE-yos)-
Foods that are prohibited during Pesach (Passover) by the rulings of Ashkenazic rabbis. Sephardic Jews do not follow these restrictions. Includes rice, corn, peanuts, and legumes (beans).

Kohein; (KOH-hayn) pl: Kohanim (koh-HAHN-eem)-
Priest. A descendant of Aaron, charged with performing various rites in the Temple. This is not the same thing as a rabbi.

Kol Nidre (KOHL NID-ray)-
Lit. all vows. The evening service of Yom Kippur, or the prayer that begins that service.

Kosher (KOH-sher)-
Lit. fit, proper or correct. Describes food that is permissible to eat under Jewish dietary laws. Can also describe any other ritual object that is fit for use according to Jewish law.

Ladino (Luh-DEE-noh)-
The "international language" of Sephardic Jews, based primarily on Spanish, with words taken from Hebrew, Arabic and other languages, and written in the Hebrew Alphabet.

Lag b'Omer (LAHG BOH-mayr)-
The 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer. A minor holiday on which the mourning restrictions of the Omer period are lifted.

Latkes (LAHT-kuhs; LAHT-kees)-
Potato pancakes traditionally eaten during Chanukkah.

Lashon Ha-Ra (LAH-shohn HAH-rah; luh-SHOHN hah-RAH)-
Lit. the evil tongue. Sins against other people committed by speech, such as defamation, gossip, swearing falsely, and scoffing.

L'Chayim (l'-KHAHY-eem)-
Lit. to life. A common Jewish toast. See Common Expressions and Greetings.

Leah -
Wife of Jacob. Mother of six of his sons. Sister of Rachel. One of the Matriarchs of Judaism.

Levi (LAY-vee); Levite (LEE-vahyt)-
1) A descendant of the tribe of Levi, which was set aside to perform certain duties in connection with the Temple;
2) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of the tribe of Levi.

L'Shanah Tovah (li-SHAH-nuh TOH-vuh; li-shah-NAH toh-VAH)-
Lit. for a good year. A common greeting during Rosh Hashanah and Days of Awe.

Lubavitch (luh-BUH-vitsh)-
A sect of Chasidic Judaism that is active in outreach to other Jews and has a high media presence.

Lulav (LOO-lahv)-
Lit. palm branch. A collection of palm, myrtle and willow branches, used to fulfill the commandment to "rejoice before the L-rd" during Sukkot.

Ma'ariv (MAH-reev) -
Evening prayer services.

Machzor (MAHKH-zawr)-
A special prayer book for the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Maftir (MAHF-teer)-
Lit. The person who reads or blesses the reading of the last part of the Torah reading and the entire haftarah reading.

Magen David (mah-GAYN dah-VEED; MAH-gen DAH-vid; MOH-gen DAY-vid)-
Lit. shield of David. The six-pointed star emblem commonly associated with Judaism.

Maimonides (mahy-MAH-ni-dees)-
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, one of the greatest medieval Jewish scholars.

Manasseh-
1) Son of Joseph. Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Matzah (MAHTZ-uh)-
Unleavened bread traditionally served during Passover.

Mazel Tov (MAHZ-z'l TAWV)-
Lit. good luck. A way of expressing congratulations. Note that this term is not be used in the way that the expression "good luck" is used in English.

Mezuzah (m'-ZOO-zuh; m'-ZU-zuh)-
Lit. doorpost. A case attached to the doorposts of houses, containing a scroll with passages of scripture written on it.

Midrash (MID-rash)-
From a root meaning "to study," "to seek out" or "to investigate." Stories elaborating on incidents in the Bible, to derive a principle of Jewish law or provide a moral lesson.

Mikvah (MIK-vuh)-
Lit. gathering. A ritual bath used for spiritual purification. It is used primarily in conversion rituals and after the period of sexual separation during a woman's menstrual cycles, but many Chasidim immerse themselves in the mikvah regularly for general spiritual purification.

Milchig (MIL-khig)-
Yiddish: dairy. Used to describe kosher foods that contain dairy products and therefore cannot be eaten with meat.

Minchah (MIN-khuh)-
1) Afternoon prayer services. See Jewish Liturgy. 2) An offering of meal or grain.

Minhag (MIN-hahg)-
Lit. custom. A custom that evolved for worthy religious reasons and has continued long enough to become a binding religious practice. The word is also used more loosely to describe any customary religious practice.

Minyan (MIN-yahn; MIN-yin)-
The quorum necessary to recite certain prayers, consisting of ten adult Jewish men in the Orthodoxy and ten adult Jews (male or female) in the other movements.

Mitzvah (MITS-vuh); pl: Mitzvot (mits-VOHT)-
Lit. commandment. Any of the 613 commandments that Jews are obligated to observe. It can also refer to any Jewish religious obligation, or more generally to any good deed.

Moshiach (moh-SHEE-ahkh)-
Lit. anointed. A man who will be chosen by G-d to put an end to all evil in the world, rebuild the Temple, bring the exiles back to Israel and usher in the world to come.

Musaf (MOO-sahf; MU-sahf)-
An additional prayer service for Shabbat and holidays.

Naphtali-
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Ne'ilah (n'-EE-luh)-
Lit. closing. The closing service of Yom Kippur.

Ner Tamid (NAYR tah-MEED)-
Lit. continual lamp. Usually translated "eternal flame." A candelabrum or lamp near the ark in the synagogue that symbolizes the commandment to keep a light burning in the Tabernacle outside of the curtain surrounding the Ark of the Covenant.

Nihum Avelim-
Lit. comforting mourners. One of the purposes of Jewish practices relating to death and mourning.

Nissan-
The first month of the Jewish year, occurring in March/April.

Olam Ha-Ba (oh-LAHM hah-BAH)-
Lit. The World to Come. 1) The messianic age;
2) the spiritual world that souls go to after death.

Pareve (PAHR-ev)-
Yiddish: neutral. Used to describe kosher foods that contain neither meat nor dairy and therefore can be eaten with either. See Kashrut - Separation of Meat and Dairy.

Parshah (PAHR-shah)-
A weekly Torah portion read in synagogue.

Pesach (PEH-sahkh, PAY-sahkh)-
Lit. exemption. 1) Holiday commemorating the Exodus from Egypt, known in English as Passover. The holiday also marks the beginning of the harvest season.
2) The paschal lamb that, in Temple times, was sacrificed on this holiday.

Purim (PAWR-im)-
Lit. lots (as in "lottery"). A holiday celebrating the rescue of the Jews from extermination at the hands of the chief minister to the King of Persia.

Pushke (PUSH-kuh)-
A box in the home or the synagogue used to collect money for donation to charity.

Rambam-
Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, one of the greatest medieval Jewish scholars. Also known as Maimonides.

Rashi (RAH-shee)
Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, one of the greatest medieval Jewish scholars.

Rebbetzin (REB-i-tsin)
The wife of a rabbi.

Reform-
One of the major movements of Judaism, believing that Jewish law was inspired by G-d and one can choose which laws to follow. (according to an orthodox website where I got this definition)

Reuben-
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Rosh Chodesh (ROHSH CHOH-desh)-
Lit. head of the month. The first day of a month, on which the first sliver of the new moon appears. It is a minor festival today, though it was a more significant festival in ancient times.

Rosh Hashanah (ROHSH hah SHAH-nuh; RUSH-uh SHAH-nuh)-
Lit. first of the year. The new year for the purpose of counting years.

Seder (SAY-d'r)-
Lit. order. 1) The family home ritual conducted as part of the Passover observance.
2) A division of the Mishnah and Talmud.

Sefirot (se-fee-ROHT)-
Lit. emanations. In Jewish mysticism, the emanations from G-d's essence that interact with the universe.

Selichot (s'lee-KHOHT; SLI-khus)-
Prayers for forgiveness, especially those that are added to the liturgy during the month of Elul, as the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur approach.

Sephardic Jews (s'-FAHR-dic)-
Jews from Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East and their descendants.

Se'udat Havra'ah-
Lit. the meal of condolence. The first meal that a family eats after the burial of a relative, prepared by a neighbor.

Shabbat (shah-BAT; SHAH-bis)-
Lit. end, cease, rest. The Jewish Sabbath, a day of rest and spiritual enrichment. See also Shabbat Evening Home Ritual; Havdalah Home Ritual.

Shabbat Shalom (shah-BAHT shah-LOHM)-
Hebrew. Literally, sabbath peace or peaceful sabbath. A general, all-purpose shabbat greeting. See Common Expressions and Greetings.

Shacharit (SHAHKH-reet)
Morning prayer services. See Jewish Liturgy. Shalach Manos (SHAH-lahkh MAH-nohs)-
Lit. sending out portions. The custom of sending gifts of food or candy to friends during Purim.

Shammus (SHAH-mis)
Lit. servant. 1) The candle that is used to light other Chanukkah candles; 2) the janitor or caretaker of a synagogue. See also Chanukkah Candle Lighting Blessings.

Shavua Tov (shah-VOO-ah TOHV)-
Hebrew. Literally, good week. A greeting exchanged at the end of Shabbat.

Shavu'ot (shuh-VOO-oht; shah-VOO-uhs)-
Lit. weeks. A festival commemorating the giving of the Torah and the harvest of the first fruits.

Shechinah (sh'-KHEE-nuh)-
The Divine Presence of G-d, generally represented as a feminine quality.

Shema (sh'-MAH)
One of the basic Jewish prayers.

Shemini Atzeret (sh'MEE-nee aht-ZE-ret)
Lit. the eighth (day) of assembly. The day (or two days) after Sukkot.

Shemoneh Esrei (sh'MOH-nuh ES-ray)-
Lit. eighteen. A prayer that is the center of any Jewish religious service. Also known as the Amidah or the Tefilah.

Shevat-
The eleventh month of the Jewish year, occurring in January/February.

Shiva (SHI-vuh)-
Lit. seven. The seven-day period of mourning after the burial of a close relative.

Shloshim (shlohsh-EEM)-
Lit. thirty. The thirty-day period of mourning after the burial of a close relative.

Shul (SHOOL)-
The Yiddish term for a Jewish house of worship. The term is used primarily by Orthodox Jews.

Siddur (SID-r; sid-AWR)-
Lit. order. Prayer book. See Jewish Liturgy.

Sidrah (SID-ruh)-
Lit. order. A weekly Torah portion read in synagogue.

Simeon-
1) Son of Jacob (Israel). Ancestor of one of the tribes of Israel;
2) The tribe that bears his name.

Simkhat Torah (SIM-khat TOH-ruh)-
Lit. rejoicing in the law. A holiday celebrating the end and beginning of the cycle of weekly Torah readings.

Sivan-
The third month of the Jewish year, occurring in May/June.

Sukkah (SUK-uh)-
Lit. booth. The temporary dwellings we live in during the holiday of Sukkot. See also Blessing for Dwelling in the Sukkah.

Sukkot (soo-KOHT; SUK-uhs)-
Lit. booths. A festival commemorating the wandering in the desert and the final harvest.

Tallit (TAH-lit; TAH-lis)-
A shawl-like garment worn during morning services, with tzitzit (long fringes) attached to the corners as a reminder of the commandments. Sometimes called a prayer shawl.

Tallit Katan (TAH-lit kuh-TAHN)-
Lit. small tallit. A four-cornered, poncho-like garment worn under a shirt so that we may have the opportunity to fulfill the commandment to put tzitzit (fringes) on the corners of our garments.

Talmud (TAHL-mud)-
The most significant collection of the Jewish oral tradition interpreting the Torah.

Tammuz-
The fourth month of the Jewish year, occurring in June/July.

Tanakh (tuhn-AHKH)-
Acronym of Torah (Law), Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings). Written Torah; what non-Jews call the Old Testament.

Tefilah (t'-FEE-luh)-
Prayer. Sometimes refers specifically to the Shemoneh Esrei prayer.

Teshuvah (t'-SHOO-vuh)-
Lit. return. repentance.

Tevet-
The tenth month of the Jewish year, occurring in December/January.

Tevilah (teh-VEE-luh)-
Immersion in the mikvah, a ritual bath used for spiritual purification. It is used primarily in conversion rituals and after the period of sexual separation during a woman's menstrual cycles, but many Chasidim undergo tevilah regularly for general spiritual purification.

Tisha B'Av (TISH-uh BAHV)-
Lit. The Ninth of Av. A fast day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples, as well as other tragedies.

Tishri-
The seventh month of the Jewish year, during which many important holidays occur.

Treyf (TRAYF)-
Lit. torn. Food that is not kosher.

Tu B'Shevat (TOO bish-VAHT)-
Lit. 15th of Shevat. The new year for the purpose of counting the age of trees for purposes of tithing.

Tzaddik (TSAH-deek)-
Lit. righteous person. A completely righteous person, often believed to have special, mystical power.

Tzedakah (tsi-DUH-kuh)-
Lit. righteousness. Generally refers to charity.

Tzitzit (TZIT-sit)-
Fringes attached to the corners of garments as a reminder of the commandments.

Ufruf (UF-ruf)-
The groom's aliyah on the Shabbat before his wedding.

Ya'akov-
Jacob (Israel). Son of Isaac. Father of twelve sons, who represent the tribes of Judaism. One of the three Patriarchs of Judaism.

Yad (YAHD)-
Lit. hand. Hand-shaped pointer used while reading from Torah scrolls.

Yahrzeit (YAHR-tsahyt)-
Yiddish: lit. anniversary. The anniversary of the death of a close relative.

Yarmulke (YAH-mi-kuh)-
The skullcap head covering worn by Jews during services, and by some Jews at all times.

Yasher koach (YAH-shehyr KOH-ahkh)-
Hebrew. Literally, straight strength. Figuratively, may you have strength, or may your strength be increased. A way of congratulating someone for performing a mitzvah or other good deed.

Yetzer Ra (YAY-tser RAH)-
Lit. evil impulse. The selfish desire for satisfaction of personal needs, which can lead a person to do evil if not restrained by the yetzer tov.

Yetzer Tov (YAY-tser TOHV)-
Lit. good impulse. The moral conscience, which motivates us to follow G-d's law.

Yiddish (YID-ish)-
The "international language" of Ashkenazic Jews, based primarily on German with words taken from Hebrew and many Slavic languages, and written in the Hebrew Alphabet.

Yom Ha-Atzmaut (YOHM hah ahts-mah-OOT)-
Israeli Independence Day.

Yom Ha-Shoah (YOHM hah shoh-AH)-
Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Yom Ha-Zikkaron (YOHM hah zee-kah-ROHN)-
Israeli Memorial Day.

Yom Kippur (YOHM ki-PAWR)-
Lit. Day of Atonement. A day set aside for fasting, depriving oneself of pleasures, and repenting from the sins of the previous year.

Yom Yerushalayim (YOHM y'-roo-shah-LAH-yeem)-
Holiday celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in the hands of the modern state of Israel.

Zohar (zoh-HAHR)
The primary written work in the mystical tradition of Kabbalah