Antiochus IV, King

Antiochus IV, King (an-TIE-ah-cuss) A Syrian king who ruled Judea and ancient Israel from 175 to 163 b.c.e In his efforts to wipe out Judaism, Antiochus demanded intense Hellenization and forbade many Jewish practices, including circumcision and Sabbath observance. He desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem with animal sacrifices and statues of Greek gods. The Maccabees’ …

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Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL)

Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) n. English Established in 1913, this division of B’nai B’rith works to combat hate, racism, and anti-Semitism. The ADL fights instances of discrimination against Jews and defends the civil, religious, and educational rights of all citizens. The ADL also works to expose hate groups and racist organizations, such as …

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aninut

aninut n. Hebrew (ah-nee-NOOT) The period of time from the moment of death until burial. Since it is traditional for Jews to be buried within a few days of death, this period lasts for only a few days at most. Because the family’s focus is on caring for the deceased and preparing for the burial, …

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An’im Zemirot

An’im Zemirot n. Hebrew (ah-NEEM zeh-meer-OTE) A hymn composed of an alphabetic acrostic of 31 lines, generally sung in front of the open ark at the conclusion of the Musaf service on Shabbat and festivals. A child often leads the congregation’s singing of An’im Zemirot. It is also known as Shir ha-Kavod, “the Hymn of …

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Ani Ma’amin

Ani Ma’amin n. Hebrew (ah-NEE mah-ah-MEEN) Literally, “I believe.” These are the first words of Maimonides’ Thirteen Principles of Faith, the 12th of which says, I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah. Even though he may tarry I will wait for him on any day that he may come.” These words …

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am Yisra’el

am Yisra’el n. Hebrew (AHM yis-rah-ALE) Literally, “people Israel.” A general expression for the worldwide Jewish community. A popular Hebrew song, “Am Yisra’el Chai” (The People Israel Live) uses this phrase. noun Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish words. Over 1000 entries for Jewish holidays and life-cycle …

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amoraim

amoraim pl. n. Aramaic (ah-MOE-rah-eem) Literally, “explainers.” The ancient rabbis who are quoted in the Gemara, the legal and ethical commentaries on the Mishnah. Amoraim are contrasted with the tannaim, ancient rabbis who are quoted in the Mishnah. The Mishnah and Gemara compose the two sections of Jewish law known as the Talmud. plural noun …

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Amidah

Amidah n. Hebrew (ah-MEE-dah) Literally, “standing.” A silent or whispered prayer said while standing. The Amidah, considered the centerpiece of the synagogue service, is a plea to God to fulfill spiritual and physical needs, as well as those of the Land of Israel. It is said three times a day in synagogue, and in an …

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am ha-eretz

am ha-eretz n. Hebrew (am hah-ARE-etz) Literally “people of the land.” A derogatory term, which originated during the time of the Second Temple, for the common people who were neither learned in Torah nor religiously pious. The opposite of haver. noun Eisenberg, J., Scolnic, E., & Jewish Publication Society. (2001). The JPS dictionary of Jewish …

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American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (the Joint)

American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (the Joint) n. English Created in 1914 by the merger of several war relief organizations, the Joint’s original purpose was to raise funds for war victims and refugees. Today, the Joint sponsors programs of relief, rescue, and reconstruction in the State of Israel and around the world. Many of its …

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