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Vocabulary and Understanding Traditions
 “Honest
differences of opinion
should never be permitted to
destroy a friendship” (219)
Says Mr. Malter to Reuven
A person whose mother was a Jew or who has
converted to Judaism. According to the Reform
movement, a person whose father is a Jew is also a
Although the term is derived from the term
"Judahite" (meaning a member of the tribe of Judah
or a citizen of the kingdom of Judah), it has
historically been applied to the patriarchs, the
matriarchs and all of the descendants of Jacob and
all converts to their faith.
In the text, Reuven and Danny would both be
considered Orthodox Jews, though as Reuven
narrates there are distinctions between his and
Danny’s practice.
Danny: The Hasidim are known for their mystical
interpretation of Judaism and for their faithful devotion
to their leaders. (rejection of secular and American
culture, strict observance of commandments)
Reuven: In contrast, traditional Orthodoxy emphasizes
a rational and intellectual approach to Judaism.
Torah: the first five books of Moses
(Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,
Deuteronomy), The Prophets, and The
Writings comprise the written Torah.
Talmud: book of Jewish civil and
canonical law in 63 volumes;
interprets and expands the teachings
of the Torah.
 Kabbalah: mystical or spiritual
interpretation of the scriptures.
Abba: father- an intimate expression
 The term "reb," which is simply a Yiddish
title of respect more or less equivalent to
"Mister" in English.
 Pilpul: empty arguments about minute
points of the Talmud
 Blatt: 1 blatt = 2 pages of Talmud
 Yeshiva: Jewish school
Simchat Torah: A holiday celebrating the end
and simultaneous beginning of the cycle of weekly
Torah readings.
Each week in synagogue the congregants publicly
read a few chapters from the Torah, starting with
Genesis Ch. 1 and working to Deuteronomy 34. On
Simchat Torah, we read the last Torah portion,
then proceed immediately to the first chapter of
Genesis, reminding us that the Torah is a circle,
and never ends.
In 2015, this will occur on the evening of Monday,
October 5, and end on the evening of Tuesday,
October 6.
Synagogue: Jewish place of worship
Shtiblach: Hasidic sects’ small
house of worship & prayer
Tzitzit: tassels/fringes on clothing
to remind wearer to be faithful. The
strings and knots act as a physical
representation of the Torah’s 613
dos and don’ts.
Tallit gadol: prayer shawl with 4
corners to remind individual of
commandments. Worn by men over
clothing when at morning prayer.
Tefillin(phylacteries): 2 small
black boxes worn on head and arm
during daily prayers. Inside:
Leather pouches containing scrolls
of scripture..
Hasids wear hats to cover their heads in respect for God.
Clothing does not have to be black, but is almost always a
dark, conservative color. Black clothing dates back to the
time when the dye was rare and expensive, and thus saved
for formal occasions.
The fringes and beard are worn in obedience to the
commandment in the Torah in Leviticus, “You shall not
round the corners of your heads, nor mar the edges of your
beards.” The tzitzit worn under clothes is known as a short
cloak (tallit katan).
Boys begin wearing side curls at age three. It is a very
important ceremony followed by a lively celebration.
Peyot-long side curls
Married women wear wigs.
Apikorsim: a Jewish person who denies and/or does not
practice the basic tenets of his faith
Gematriya: a field of Jewish mysticism finding hidden
meanings in the numerical value of words (since each
Hebrew letter is assigned a number)
Yiddish: Germanic language written using Hebrew
characters. Yiddish is the Yiddish word for “Jewish.” At one
time this was the international language of the Jews of
Central & Eastern Europe and their descendants.
Hebrew: The language of the Torah & prayer. A Semitic
language belonging to Afroasiatic language family.
Zionism: movement to establish a Jewish state in
Challah: bread eaten on Shabbat
Nu: equivalent of “so” and used when you
are awaiting a reply
Samovar: urn used to boil water for tea
Tzaddik: a Jewish holy man and leader; takes on
his peoples’ sufferings. Literally means “Righteous
Ones,” and refers to a completely righteous
individual who is thought to have spiritual or
mystical power.
Rebbe is the term for the spiritual master and guide
of a Chasidic (Hasidic) community. The term is
sometimes translated as "Grand Rabbi," but literally
it simply means "my rabbi." A rebbe is also
considered to be a tzaddik (but a rabbi is not
necessarily a Tzaddik). The position is usually
hereditary. A rebbe has the final word over every
decision in a Hasid's life.
 Ba'al
Shem Tov (bahl shem tohv)
 “Master of the Good Name”
known as the Rabbi Israel ben
Eliezer. The founder of Hasidic
 1736 became healer and leader
and died in 1760.
Friday evening Sundown to Saturday evening Sundown
-Most important ritual observance in Judaism
-Day of rest and spiritual enrichment
Preparations begin around 2 or 3 PM on Friday
Shabbat candles are lit (2) and the blessing is
recited no later than 18 minutes before sunset.
This officially marks the beginning of Shabbat.
Mothers offer Shabbat Prayer
Attendance at an Evening Synagogue service
 Smicha:
rabbinic ordination
 Rav-Teacher
 Rabbi-originated from the Hebrew
word meaning “teacher” of the Torah
and Jewish Law.
Festive dinner: Kiddush, the prayer over wine,
and the prayer over bread (challah) are recited
before dinner.
After dinner, grace after meals is said
accompanied by many lively songs.
On Saturday morning, Shabbat services last
from 9am-12pm.
Afternoon meal
Study Torah and engage in other leisure
Third meal, very light, late in the afternoon.
Ends at nightfall, when three stars are visible in
the sky (about 40 minutes after sunset).
The family performs the Havdalah, which is the
concluding ritual marking the end of Shabbat or a
Four young Hasidic Jews watching a baseball game in
Central Park.
Pastor Tom’s Sabbatical News
Judaism 101