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Jewish Terms & Concepts A - M
Anti-Semitism is one of the world’s most powerful and enduring ideologies—and, in the current century, it is more pervasive than ever.
A Christian or Jewish text which claims to contain a disclosure or revelation of hidden things or of the future, made by God to a chosen prophet, and often describing the end of the world and the Last Judgement.
The reconciliation, or "at-one-ment," of sinful humanity with God. In Judaism both the Bible and rabbinical thought reflect the belief that God's chosen people must be pure to remain in communion with God. The Bible prescribed Temple sacrifice for the removal of sin and uncleanliness.
Bar and Bat mitzvah
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia
Background One of the purposes of Jewish education is learning to perform the mitzvot (commandments). This means following the commandments, duties, and obligations required by the Jewish tradition.
Operation to remove the foreskin covering the glans of the penis. It dates back to prehistoric times and was widespread throughout the Middle East as a religious rite before it was introduced among the Hebrews, presumably by Abraham.
Agreement entered into voluntarily by two or more parties to do or refrain from doing certain acts. In the Bible and in theology the covenant is the agreement or engagement of God with man as revealed in the Scriptures.
Since the days of early human settlement, groups of people have moved from their homeland, sometimes seeking a better life and at other times forced by circumstances, such as violence, to flee the place they call home.
From The New Encyclopedia of Judaism
A legal device used to facilitate the observance of the Sabbath and festivals.
The practice of voluntarily going without food. It can be undertaken as a religious observance, a sign of mourning, a political protest (hunger strike), or for slimming purposes.
This Hebrew word means ‘communal settlement’, one founded on a combination of ambitions for a Jewish homeland and SOCIALIST doctrine regarding equality of ownership, responsibility and reward.
Conforming to religious law with regard to the preparation and consumption of food; in Judaism, conforming to the food laws (kashrut) of the Torah (as laid down in Deuteronomy and Leviticus) and the Mishnah.
Jewish Terms & Concepts N - Z
Address to divine power, ranging from a ritual formula to attain a desired end, to selfless communication in meditation.
A religious leader and spokesperson, particularly used in the Bible. The prophets emitted messages from the divine through inspired speech, the interpretation of omens and dreams, and the casting of lots and divination.
A system of thought, feeling, and action that is shared by a group and that gives the members an object of devotion; a code of behavior by which individuals may judge the personal and social consequences of their actions; and a frame of reference by which individuals may relate to their group and their universe.
Transgression of the will of God or the gods, as revealed in the moral code laid down by a particular religion.
In Judaism, a place of worship, study, and gathering; in the USA a synagogue is also called a temple by the non-Orthodox.
Ten Commandments: Topic
The laws given by God to the Hebrew leader Moses on Mount Sinai, engraved on two tablets of stone.
From The New Encyclopedia of Judaism
Term often used in the sense of a commitment to social action stemming from a Jewish outlook.
Treif or Trayf
Term derived from the Hebrew word for “torn” and referring to foods that are non-Kosher.
Yiddish Language: Topic
Yiddish is a language spoken primarily by Jews of eastern European descent.
The rise of the Zionist movement in the late 19th cent. was influenced by nationalist currents in Europe, as well as by the secularization of Jewish life in Eastern Europe, which led many assimilated Jewish intellectuals to seek a new basis for a Jewish national life.