Advertisement Upgrade to remove ads

Test

monotheism

The belief in one single deity or God responsible for the creation of the universe.

YHWH

The so-called tetragrammaton or four consonants in Hebrew which refer to God. Modern scholars are not sure how it was originally pronounced. It is generally rendered "Yahweh."

rabbi

The Jewish term for "teacher."

Torah

The Hebrew word for the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The word means "instruction" or "teaching." The Greek term is Pentateuch.

Talmud

Jewish law and lore, as finally compiled in the sixth century CE.

Tanakh

The Hebrew term for the Jewish scriptures, which Christians call "the Old Testament."

Covenant

The belief that God has chosen Abraham and his descendants to be the "chosen people" who will be a light of ethics and righteous living to the nations of the world.

Messiah

The term literally means the "anointed one." An apocalyptic figure whom God will send to return the Jews to their rightful home and rebuild the Temple.

Bar Mitzvah

A coming-of-age ceremony for Jewish boys at the age of thirteen when they ritually become adults in the congregation. The term means "son of the commandment."

Bat Mitzvah

A ceremony in non-Orthodox congregations welcoming young girls into adult responsibilities. The term means "daughter of the commandment."

Shabbat

The Jewish Sabbath beginning Friday at sundown and ending Saturday at sundown.

kosher

The term used for a strict and traditional diet, including a prohibition on consuming pork and shellfish

bris

The term used for circumcision of males on the eighth day after birth. For strict believers, a sign of God's covenant with the Jews.

Kaddish

The prayer for the dead

Passover

One of the main holy days of the faith celebrating the Exodus of the Jews from bondage in Egypt. Also known as Pesach.

Yom Kippur

The most important of the holy days, known as "The Day of Atonement."

Rosh Hashanah

One of the main holy periods of the faith, which signifies spiritual renewal in remembrance of the original creation of the world. New Year's Day.

Hanukkah

The eight day holy period known as the Feast of Dedication or the Festival of Lights. Historically, it celebrates the victory of the Maccabean Rebellion against the attempt by Antiochus to force non-Jewish practices on the Jews.

Sheol

A kind of "underworld" in Jewish theology, a place of punishment for sinners.

t'fillin

Small leather boxes containing Biblical verses which are worn by traditional Jewish men (during weekday morning prayers) on the forehead and the upper arm, thereby fulfilling the commandment to keep the Covenant "close to heart and mind."

talit

The prayer shawl worn by traditional Jewish men.

Orthodox Judaism

Strict, "Torah-true" faith. It seeks to preserve all the old traditions, such as keeping kosher, etc

Reform Judaism

A liberal branch of the faith that has made many adaptations to modern life. It does not stress the importance of keeping many of the old traditions, such as kosher, etc.

Conservative Judaism

A kind of middle ground in Jewish theology. It accepts some strict practices from the Orthodox branch (dietary laws, belief in the literalness of the Torah, etc.) and some liberal ones from the Reform branch (family pews for men and women, modern methods of education for children, etc.).

Holocaust

The attempted annihilation of European Jewry in the Nazi death camps of World War II.

Chosen People

The teaching that God has chosen the Jews among all the people of the world to be a "light unto the nations" and a model of ethical behavior.

prophet

One who speaks for God.

diaspora

The forced dispersion of the Jews from Jerusalem after 70 CE when the Romans destroyed the Temple and the city. The term is also applied to the period of time after the Jews were in Babylonian Captivity.

Babylonian Captivity

The fifty year period of exile (586-536 BCE) during which the Jews were held captive in Babylonia by King Nebuchadnezzar.

Kabbalah

The Jewish mystical tradition

Mishnah

The systematic summation of the legal teachings of the oral tradition of the Torah.

Zionism

The historical movement dedicated to the establishment of a politically viable, internationally recognized Jewish state in the Biblical land of Israel.

Shekhinah

A feminine noun that represents the nurturing aspect of God.

Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

Having trouble? Click here for help.

We can’t access your microphone!

Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again

Example:

Reload the page to try again!

Reload

Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
to use Voice Recording.

For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

Your microphone is muted

For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

Star this term

You can study starred terms together

NEW! Voice Recording

Create Set