Jewish Words

Ashkenazim

Ashkenazim pl. n. Hebrew (osh-keh-NAH-zeem) The name given to the group of Jews who were originally from Germany and France (and their descendants). The word Ashkenaz is the Hebrew name for Germany. The Ashkenazim migrated to Central and Eastern Europe during times of oppression. In pre-World War II Europe, Ashkenazim comprised 90 percent of world …

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Asher

Asher The eighth son of Jacob and the second son of Zilpah, who was Jacob’s concubine and Leah’s handmaid. Asher is also the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, whose members were said to be descended from him. The tribe occupied the northwestern part of Canaan. Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish …

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Ashamnu

Ashamnu n. Hebrew (ah-SHAHM-noo) Literally, “we have sinned.” A prayer recited on Yom Kippur. It is customary to tap over the heart with the right hand during the prayer. The Ashamnu is in the form of an acrostic, with a sin listed for each letter of the alphabet. For example, “we abuse, we betray, we …

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Aron Kodesh

Aron Kodesh n. Hebrew (ah-ROAN CO-desh) Literally, “Holy Ark.” See ark. noun 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 …

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ark

ark n. English 1. Shorthand for Holy Ark (Aron Kodesh), the cabinet at the front of an Ashkenazic synagogue that houses the Torah scrolls. It is usually set into or against a wall that faces east toward Jerusalem. The ark is sometimes large and ornate, sometimes small and plain. A depiction of the tablets of …

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arba minim

arba minim pl. n. Hebrew (ar-BAH mee-NEEM) Literally, “four species.” The name for the three parts of the lulav and the etrog, which are used to fulfill the commandments to “rejoice before the Lord” during Sukkot. On Sukkot, both in synagogue and in the sukkah, it is traditional to hold the lulav in the right …

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arba kosot

arba kosot n. Hebrew (ar-BAH co-SOTE) Literally, “four cups.” It is traditional to drink four cups of wine during the seder on Pesach. The four cups of wine mirror the four ways that God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as written in Exodus 6:6-7: “I will free you from the labors of the …

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arba kanfot

arba kanfot pl. n. Hebrew (ar-BAH can-FOTE) Literally, “four corners.” See tallit katan. plural noun 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 …

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