Today is December 10, 2019 -

– Glossary

  • Aliyah pl. Aliyot
    • Literally: going up.
    • To “have an aliyah” refers to the honor of being called up to the bimah to recite or chant the blessings over the Torah.
    • To “make aliyah” or “go on aliyah” means to immigrate to Israel.
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvah pl. B’nai Mitzvah
    • Literally: son / daughter of the commandment.
    • Ceremony marking a youngster’s reaching the age of religious majority, traditionally thirteen for boys and twelve for girls; in many congregations, thirteen for girls as well.
  • Bimah
    • The raised platform in the synagogue from which the Torah is read and from which worship services are usually conducted.
    • Reader’s stand in synagogue.
  • Gabbai pl. Gabbaim
    • A person who assists in the running of synagogue services and especially in helping the Torah readers. The role is undertaken on a voluntary basis.
  • Haftarah
    • Weekly readings from the Nevi’im (Prophets)
    • Readings selected by sages during the time when Torah reading was forbidden
    • Nevi’im reading selected to remind one of the Torah reading
  • Kiddush luncheon
    • The lunch following Shabbat services.
  •  Kippah
    • A kippah (literally: dome) is the Hebrew word for skullcap, also referred to in Yiddish as a yarmulke.
  • KOL
    • Monthly newsletter from Beth El Synagogue
  • Maftir
    • An additional Aliya – given to the person who has the honor of chanting the Haftarah
  • Minyan
    • A minyan to count, number; in Judaism refers to the quorum of ten Jewish adults required for certain religious obligations
  • Mitzvah (plural Mitzvot)
    • Command or commandment
    • Principle for living, good deed
    • Instructions
  • Nachas or Nachat
    • Nachas is a Yiddish word meaning that you are happy and proud, especially of someone’s accomplishments.
  • Simcha
    • Literally, the word “simcha” means gladness, or joy. It comes from the root word “sameyach,” which means glad or happy.
  • Simcha Coordinator
    • A congregant who will help you with the service on Shabbat morning. They will help you organize the honors given for the Torah service and direct your guests where and when to participate in your simcha.
  • Tallit
    • 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.
  • T’filah pl T’filot
    • Prayers
  • T’fillin
    • Two black leather boxes containing scrolls of Scripture passages
      • Exodus 13:1-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; 11:13-21
    • Sometimes during prayers, one box is affixed to one’s hand and arm and the other to one’s forehead as a physical effort to obey the passage in Deuteronomy 6:8
    • Also called phylacteries
  • Yahrzeit
    • Memorial/Commemoration of a death
    • Yahrzeit, means “Time (of) Year” in Yiddish
    • Observed on the yearly anniversary of the death