aliyah n. Hebrew (ah-LEE-yah); pl. aliyot (ah-lee-YOTE) Literally, “to go up.” 1. The honor of being called up to the bimah to recite the blessings before and after the Torah reading. The term is often also used for any of the other rituals associated with reading the Torah, including hagbah and gelilah. During a synagogue service, those receiving an aliyah are called to the bimah by their Hebrew name. Traditionally the first aliyah is given to a Kohen, the second to a Levite, and the remaining ones to the Israelites. The number of aliyot at a religious service varies from three to seven, depending on the occasion. During a Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah service, aliyot are often given to family members and friends. 2. (ah-lee-YAH) The act of immigrating to Israel. Almost always used with the verb “make,” as in “Did Lisa and her husband make aliyah? I heard they wanted to live in Tel Aviv.”

  1. noun
  2. plural

Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish words. Over 1000 entries for Jewish holidays and life-cycle events, culture, history, the Bible and other sacred texts, and worship. Each entry has a pronunciation guide and is cross-referenced to related terms.; “A JPS desk reference”–cover. (5). Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society.

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