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anti-semitisim

hostility towards jews and judaism; ranges from attitudes of disfavor to persecution

bar/bat mitzvah

the ritual celebration marking the coming of age of a jewish child, at which time the person takes on the religious responsibilities of an adult

covenant

the agreement established between god and the ancient israelites, first through abraham and later through moses, that designates the jews as god's chosen people, with special rights and responsibilities

diaspora

the situation of jews living away from their ancestral homeland, a circumstance that has been true for most jews since the classical period

hasidism

a form of judaism that arose in eastern europe in the eighteenth century and that emphasizes mysticism, a personal relationship with god, a close-knit community, and the leadership of the zaddik, a charismatic holy man

holocaust

the persecution of jews by german nazis from 1933 to 1945, resulting in the murder of some six million; commonly referred to by jews as shoah

kabbalah

jewish mysticism, which teaches that god can best be known through the heart; developed mainly in the medieval period with such texts as the zohar

mishnah

written down in about ad 200; contains collected teachings of the rabbis of the preceding four centuries; along with the talmud, is the most important text of the oral torah

passover

the eight-day festival celebrated in early spring that commemorates the exodus of the jews from egypt

rabbi

a teacher of torah and leader of jewish worship

rosh hashanah

the festival occurring in early fall in commemoration of the new year

sabbath

the day from sunset on friday until sunset on saturday that is set aside for rest and religious celebration, as decreed by one of the 10 commandments

shema

from deuteronomy 6:4; judaisms basic statement of monotheism

talmud

the vast depository of the oral torah, based on the mishnah with extensive rabbinic commentary on each chapter; there are 2 versions, palestinian and the babylonian

tanakh

a common way of referring to the hebrew bible, derived from the first letters of the hebrew names of its 3 sections: torah (T), prophets (N), and writings (K)

torah

generally, the revelation of gods will to the people; more specifically the divine law, especially as contained in the first five books of the bible, which together are often called the torah

yom kippur

judaisms most important holy day, occurring in the fall on the tenth day of the new year; spent primarily at synagogue services in prayer for forgiveness of sins and marked by abstention from food and drink

zionism

originally, the movement arising in the late nineteenth century that sought to re-establish a jewish homeland; since 1948, the general support of the state of israel

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