Studies of Religion Wiki

Term Definition
Ark The cabinet where the Torah scrolls are kept in the synagogue
Bar Mitzvah (Son of the Commandment) A ceremony marking the fact that a boy has achieved the age of 13 and become an adult in the eyes of the Jewish community
Bat Mitzvah (Daughter of the Commandment) A ceremony marking the girl's coming of age – takes place at 12 years
Bimah The pedestal on which the Torah scrolls are placed when they are being read in the synagogue
Channukah An eight-day holiday celebrating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem
Chasidism A branch of Orthodox Judaism that maintains a lifestyle separate from the non-Jewish world
Chazzan Cantor. The person who leads the congregation in prayer
Circumcision Removal of the foreskin of the penis, performed on the eighth day of life
Diaspora Any place outside of the land of Israel where Jews live
G-d/L-ord/YHWH Ways of avoiding writing the name of God
Halakhah Jewish law – the complete body of rules and practices that Jews are bound to follow
Ha-Shem A substitute for God's name
Israel The land promised to the Jews by God
Kaddish A prayer commonly associated with mourning practices
Kashrut Jewish dietary laws; means 'fit' or 'proper'
Kippah The skullcap head covering worn by Jews
Kosher Fit, proper, or correct. Describes food that is permissable to eat
Menorah A candelabrum – usually nine-branched; holds the candles of Channukah
Midrash Stories elaborating on incidents in the Torah
Minyan A quorum of ten men required to recite certain prayers
Mitzvah Any of the 613 commandments that Jews are obliged to follow. Plural: Mitzvot
Noahic Commandments Seven commandments which both Jews and non-Jews are to follow
Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – the three forefathers of Judaism
Pentateuch The first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; another name for the Torah
Rabbi A religious teacher
Synagogue A Jewish Church/temple
Talmud A collection of Jewish oral tradition interpretting the Torah
Tanak The collection of the Torah, the Nevi'im and the Ketuvim
Yad Hand-shaped pointer used to read from the Torah Scroll
Zionism A political movement used to create and maintain a Jewish state