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MileChai ® --> Judaism --> Jewish Word Spelling Guide
abbr.= abbreviated esp.= especially Heb.= Hebrew
lit.= literally n= noun pl.= plural
pron.= pronounced usu.= usually v= verb
Yid.= Yiddish

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A

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abba  (Heb.) father

Acharonim  lit.=the last ones: post-Rishonim commentators

Achashverosh  Persian king in Book of Esther


Adar  6th Jewish month (Feb-Mar), 14th is Purim

Adon Olam  "Master of the World," a concluding hymn

afikomen last bit of matzah, eaten at end of Seder

Agadah non-legal rabbinic writings

agunah lit.=chained one: wife of an M.I.A.; woman whose husband refuses to grant a divorce

ahava (Heb.) love [n]


ainikle (Yid.) grandchild

Aleinu "It is Upon Us," a concluding hymn

al kiddush HaShem for the sanctification of G-d


alav hashalom "(May he/she) rest in peace."

aliyah lit.=ascent: immigration to Israel

am ha'aretz lit.=nation of the land: ignorant person
Amidah lit.=standing: long prayer said while standing

Amora'im lit.=explainers: Gemarah-era commentators (200-500 C.E.)

Ani Ma’amin lit.=I believe: phrase that begins each of Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles of Faith


aravot willow sprigs, used
on Succot

arba kanfos lit.=four corners:
tzitzit

Arba Kanfos The Four Corners of the Earth


Aretz lit.=land: Israel

aron (hakodesh) (the holy) cabinet for Sefer Torah

Aseret HaDibrot The Ten Commandments

Aseret Yimei Teshuva  The Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, a time of introspection and semi-mourning

Ashkenazi  of Eastern European Jewish tradition

Ashrei  "Fortunate Are," a popular alphabetic prayer (Psalm 145)


Asoroh B'Tevet  winter fast for Babylonian siege of Jerusalem aufruf  held the Shabbat before a wedding, the throwing of candy, etc. at a groom after he reads the Haftorah Av  11th Jewish month (Jul-Aug), 9th is Tisha B'Av

av  (Heb.) father of...

avel/avelut  mourner/mourning

aveyra  sin; transgression of a "shalt not"


avodah  work [n], esp. in service of G-d

avodah zarah  lit.=strange work: idolatry

ayrusin  marital engagement


ayshet chayil  a woman of valor

Ayshet Chayil  the entire last chapter of Proverbs, sung on Erev Shabbat and at weddings, describing a "woman of valor"

American the Beautiful At the summit of Pikes Peak, Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to pen the lines to her most famous poem, "America the Beautiful." She was overwhelmed by the sights of vast, open skies, planted fields, and the majestic Rocky Mountains.
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B
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ba'al
(Heb.) master, owner; one who...
ba'al habayis (...of the house) host [n] ba'al koreh (...who reads) Torah reader

ba’al simcha (... of happiness) the celebrant, esp. the bar or bat mitzvah ba'al teshuva (...who returns) newly observant Jew ba'al toke'a (...of the sound) shofar blower

ba'alabusta (Yid.) hostess; friendly woman babushka kerchief worn as headcovering bachor first-born male child

baheyma  domesticated beast; "Animal!" Bamidbar Numbers (4th bk. of Torah) bar mitzva  13-year-old boy now responsible for fulfilling mitzvot; the ceremony at which this rite of passage occurs

bat... daughter of... bat mitzva 12-year-old girl now responsible for fulfilling mitzvot; the ceremony at which this rite of passage occurs B.C.E/C.E.  Before the Common Era/Common Era

b'dikat chametz  the ceremonial, pre-Pesach search for chametz becher  (Yid.) wine goblet  bedecken  the veiling of the bride

Beit HaT’futzot  The Diaspora Museum, in Tel Aviv b'emet  lit.= in truth: "Really?"; "Really!" Be'ersheva lit.=well of the oath: Israeli city in the Negev

Beit... pron."bate": House of... [Sefardi pron.] Beit Dinlit.=house of law: rabbinical court Beit HaMikdash Holy Temple, twice destroyed
also see: Temple / Jerusalem

Beit Lechem lit.=House of bread (Heb.) Bethlehem, Rachel's burial place Beit (Ha)Midrashroom, building for religious study ben... son of...

bentch (Yid.) say Grace After Meals bentch licht (Yid.) light and bless the Shabbat candles Beth... pron. "bett": House of... [Ashkenazi pron.]

biblical of the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, or the Writings bikur cholim visiting the sick bimah Torah-reading table in synagogue

Birkat HaMazon lit.=blessing of the food: Grace After Meals Birkat Kohanim the blessing of the kohanim (see "duchan") bitachon (Heb.) trust [n]

biz hundret un tzvensik yor lit.=to a hundred and twenty years: "(May you) live a long life."
[Moses lived to 120]
blood libel the pernicious libel that the blood of Christian children is
used to make kosher wine or matzah
b’nai mitzvah more than one bar/bat mitzvah celebrant

boch'r yeshiva student borscht cold beet soup Boruch Atoh "Blessed are You..."
boruch haboh lit.=bless the arrivers: "Welcome!" boychik (Yid.) boy, term of endearment bracha blessing

B'reshit Genesis brit (mila) lit.=covenant: circumcision [read more...] b'samim fragrant spices smelled during Havdala

b'shert destined; one's destined mate/spouse b'tayavon lit.=in appetite: Bon Appetit! bubbe (Yid.) grandmother

bubbe meiseh lit.=grandmother's story: old-wive's tale bulvan (Yid.) ox-like person bupkes (Yid.) nothing; something worthless

b'vakasha "Please"; "You're welcome."    

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C
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cacamamie  half-baked, silly   calla  (Heb.) bride C.E.  Common Era

Chabad  see "Lubavitch"
[read more]
chag  holiday, esp. a religious one   chai  (Heb.) life  

challah  braided egg bread for Shabbat and holidays chaloshes  (Yid.) disgusting chalutz  pioneer; early Israeli settler, esp. on kibbutz  

chamalyeh  (Yid.) punch, hard hit [n] chametz  leavened products forbidden on Pesach   Chanukah  winter holiday for defeating the Syrian Hellenists
[read more...] also see:  [Chanukah ritual]

chanukia  Chanukah menorah   charoset  Seder condiment of chopped apples, walnuts, and wine; recalls mortar made by Hebrew slaves in Egypt chas v'sholom  lit.=mercy and peace: "G-d forbid!"  

chasana  wedding   chasid (pl. chasidim)  member of an Orthodox Jewish sect Chassidus chatchke(s)  knick-knack(s)  

chaver  (Heb.) friend   chavruta  study partner or group   chaya (ruah)  (wicked) wild animal  

Chazal  abbr. of Chachomim, Zichronom L'Vracha: our Sages, may their Memories (be) for a Blessing. chazan  cantor   chazer  pig  

chazerai  (Yid.) disgusting stuff, trash   chazuka  claim of ownership based on repeated use   cheder  religious lesson, or where it's held  

chesed  (Heb.) kindness   Cheshvan  2nd Jewish month (Oct-Nov) chevra kadisha  lit.=holy association: burial society

chidush  innovation; revelation chilul HaShem  lit.=defamation of the Name: a scandalous act or statement chinuch  early childhood education  

chiyuv lit.=obligated: one to whom
an honor is due in shul
chochma (Heb.) wisdom chochom (pl. chochomim) sage; wise one

chodesh lit.=new (moon): month Chol HaMo'ed middle 4 days of 8-day holidays, esp. Pesach and Sukkot. rules of the holiday apply, but work is permitted. cholent 24-hour stew for Shabbat, holidays, etc.

choson (Heb.) groom chrain (Yid.) horseradish chug activity group
 

Chumash lit.=five: The Five Books of Moses chuppah wedding canopy churban destruction, ruin [n]

chutzpah sass, moxy; nerve, gall chiloni Israeli non-affiliated Jew Converso Jew forced to convert under the Inquistion; a modern descendant living in the southwest U.S.

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D
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daf yomi lit.=page of the day: practice of learning a page of Gemara each day darshen to interpret, esp. in religious issues daven (Yid.) pray

Dayenu "It Would Have Sufficed," a Seder song; "Enough already!"
 
dayun (Heb.) judge [n] derech eretz lit.=the way of the land: courtesy

Diaspora those Jews not living in Israel din (Heb.) law drasha sermon

dreidel toy top used on Chanukah
 
duchan blessing the congregation [v], done by kohanim D'varim Deuteronomy

dvar Torah lit.=word of Torah: speech on enlightening biblical passage or any aspect of religious thought dybbuk (Yid.) dead person's soul inhabiting a living person
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E
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Eicha Lamentations
 
Einsatzgruppen Special Forces of the Nazi Army El Al lit.=to above: Israel's airline

Eretz Yisrael (Heb.) The Land of Israel

 
Erev... lit.=evening: the night before, esp. Shabbat or yom tov; like New Year's Eve eruv series of posts connected with string that fence in an area, making it permissible to carry on Shabbat in that area

Elul 12th Jewish month (Aug-Sept) emunah (Heb.) faith eppis something undefinable, a "you-know-what"

Eishes Chayil - Eishet Chayil
 
etrog citron, used on Sukkot ezra (Heb.) help [n]
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F
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Falasha lit.=wanderer: derogatory name for Ethiopian Jews far vus (Yid.) for what, why farblonget (Yid.) lost

farbrengen (Yid.) party [n], esp. religious or family farbrent (Yid.) burning; zealous farfallen (Yid.) collapsed, fallen in

felafel pita sandwich with fried chick-pea balls ferdrimmeled (Yid.) dreaming, daydreaming ferklempt (Yid.) clenched

fermished (Yid.) mixed up, messed up ferpitzed (Yid.) dressed up fershtays (Yid.) understand

fershimmeled (Yid.) moldy ferschnoshked (Yid.) drunk fertootsed (Yid.) over-dressed, overdone

fleischig containing or relating to meat fress (Yid.) gobble fresser (Yid.) glutton

freylach (Yid.) festive frosk (Yid.) slap Frik Kippot

fumfer (Yid.) mumble
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G
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gaon head of a Babylonian yeshiva; composer of the Talmud gabbai rabbi's synagogue assistant Gallil lit= rolling: the northern, grassy, hilly part of Israel

Galut lit.=exile: where the Diaspora lives Gan Aiden The Garden of Eden ganev thief; clever person
gan k’tanim lit.=garden of (the) small (ones): kindergarten gantze megilla (Yid.) the whole story gantze mishpocha (Yid.) the whole family
gartl (Yid.) belt, sash gefilt croht stuffed cabbage gefilte fish fish cakes
gelilah rolling and re-clothing of Torah scroll after hagbah gelt (Yid.) money, esp. as Chanukah gift Gemara commentary on the Mishna

gemilut chasadim acts of kindness genizah storage/burial for worn-out, but holy, papers, books, etc. ger convert [n]

geshmackt (Yid.) delicious, lip-smacking geshrai (Yid.) cry, shout, yell [n] get divorce document
gezunt (Yid.) healthy gezuntheit (Yid.) good health glatt lit.=smooth: highest level of fleishig kashrut
glick (Yid.) good fortune Goldena Medina lit.=Golden Country: the United States golem automaton; mindless person
gomel one who has just undergone a dangerous experience gorgl (Yid.) neck gornisht (Yid.) nothing, emptiness
gottenyu "Dear G-d!" grogger Purim noisemaker
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H
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HaAretz lit.=the land: The Land of Israel hachnasat orchim the welcoming of guests; hospitality hader (Heb.) pride

hadasim myrtle leaves, used on Succot Haftorah after Torah reading, a reading from Prophets, usu. related in content or theme to parsha just read hagbah raising and display of the Torah scroll after reading

Hadassah U.S.-based Jewish women's organization Haggadah Pesach guidebook, used during Seder hakafot dances around bimah on Succot [n]
hak'n a chainik lit.=banging a kettle: annoying [v] halachah Jewish law ha-levai (Yid.) "If only!"

Hallel holiday prayer of thanks-giving Psalms halvah sesame candy hamentash(en) Purim cookie(s), filled with fruit or poppyseeds

HaMotzi the blessing over bread: Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu, melech ha-olam ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.... [read more] Hamsa - This ancient symbol is used as a protective amulet by Jews. The Jewish name, Hamsa, is derived from the Semitic root meaning "five."  It is usually worn around the neck or hung on walls or over doors.
see: hamsa jewelry
HaShem The Name (in place of G-d's actual Name)

Haskala 19th cent. European Jewish "Enlightenment" HaTikvah lit.=The Hope: Israel's anthem Havdala prayer bidding farewell to Shabbat
haymish lit.=home-like: friendly, joyous Hebrew (/'hi?bru?/) (Ivrit, About this sound [?iv'?it] (help·info) or About this sound [?iv'?it] (help·info)) is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family.  hefker abandoned, ownerless

Herzl, Theodore early Zionist, Hebrew-language proponent hechsher At one time a woman did all her family’s preparation in her own kitchen and it was obvious that pig’s feet, and fish without scales and fins were not kosher, and milk which came from a cow and was made into cheese was kosher. [read more...]  Holocaust always capitalized

hora fast, festive circle-dance hoshanah prayer for hakafot Hoshanah Rabbah holiday at end of Succot

hummus chick-pea paste, a Mid-Eastern dish

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