ANOINTINGHumans and objects intended for sacred purposes are
consecrated by anointment with oil.
BAAL TEKIAHThe person who sounds the shofarrams hornin
synagogue on Rosh ha-Shanah and at the conclusion of the Day of
BENEDICTIONVarious blessings that are to be recited on
BET MIDRASHCenter for religious learning.
CANTORThe cantor leads the synagogue prayer service; this may
be a paid position. The cantor is trained for his function in music,
voice, and liturgy.
CIRCUMCISIONBerit milah, the removal of part or all of the
foreskin that covers the glans of the penis. In Judaism circumcision is
performed on the eighth day of the male childs life according to Gods
command and as a sign of the covenant between God and the
descendants of Abraham. The laws detailing the various aspects of
ritual circumcision are drawn directly from biblical sources. Today, the
basic ritual is complemented by many customs that have developed
with time. The circumcision itself takes only a few second and is
performed by a circumciser, mohel. The infant is handed to the person
who will hold him during the naming ceremony. Finally, a special
blessing is said over a cup of wine and the child receives his Jewish
Female circumcision has never been supported. Circumcision is an
essential part of conversion to Judaism for males; however, if the
convert is already circumcised, a ritual drawing of a drop of blood from
the site of the circumcision is performed.
The instrument that the mohel uses are the knife, izmael, sharpened
on both sides; the shield, magen, a thin metal instrument through
which the foreskin is passed before it is removed serving both to
protect the glans penis and guide the knife along a safe and proper
path. A silver probe is often used before the circumcision to loosen up
the foreskin which often adheres to the glans penis.
The ceremony is followed by a festive meal, seudat mitsuvah.
CONFIRMATIONA public ceremony in which teenagers affirm their
commitment to Judaism and the Jewish community. Found primarily
in nonorthodox congregations. The phrase ben or bat Torah; that is,
son or daughter of the Torah, refers to the confirmants.
COVERING THE HEADWhen praying, attending synagogue,
engaging in Torah study, and reciting benedictions before and after
meals, the Jewish male covers his head. The wearing of a skullcap,
yarmulke, throughout all working hours became prevalent from the
early 18th century and is a sign of Jewish piety.
FASTING AND FAST DAYSFasting is a religious discipline
involving the abstention from food, drink, and physical pleasures, for
the purpose of intensifying spiritual experience in atonement for sin,
in commemoration of national tragedies, or as part of a personal
petition in seeking Gods help.
Fast days, dawn to dusk, are 3 Tishri, Fast of Gredaliah; 10 Tishri,
Day of Atonement; 10 Trevet, Asarah be-Tevet; 13 Adar, Fast of
Esther; 14 Nisan, Fast of the First-born; 17 Tammuz, Shivah Asar be-
Tammuz, and 9 Av, Tishah be-Ab.
GENTILEA non-Jew that is any person not either born of a
Jewish mother or converted to Judaism.
HAKKAFOTThe seven circular processions made, with the Torah
Scrolls, in synagogue or elsewhere on various occasions, both
festival and solemn.
HIGH HOLIDAYSName given to Rosh ha-Shanah and the Day of
Atonement which occur on 1 and 2 Tishri and 10 Tishri respectively
and mark the most solemn time of the Jewish year.
KABBALAT SHABBATWelcoming or accepting the Shabbat. This
is the service preceding Friday, traditionally at twilight.
KADDISHA doxology prayer of praise to God. The recitation of a
mourners kaddish is widely observed.
KOSHERA term denoting those foods that are judged proper for
consumption, according to the biblical and rabbinic Dietary laws.
MINYANTraditional prayer quorum of at least 10 males above
the age of 13 who assemble for public worship and various other
religious observances. Reform Judaism has adopted the practice of
counting women as well as men in the prayer quorum.
ONEG SHABBATOneg Shabbat, meaning Sabbath delight.
Special dishes should be served as part of the Sabbath delight.
PARENTAL BLESSINGA blessing, birkat banim, usually recited
by the father for his children of all ages every Sabbath ever after
services, either in the synagogue or at home.
PEACEPeace, Shalom, is a blessing.
PRAYERIn Judaism, prayer is a verbal or meditative expression
of a relationship with God. Prayer is praise, thanksgiving, request,
petitions, entreaties, or confession of sins.
RABBITitle of qualified Jewish religious authority, a teacher, or
an expression of respect.
RENDING OF GARMENTSA mourning ritual. Performed
standing, is done to the outer garment only, on the right-hand side.
The person who rends recites the blessing Blessed is the judge of
SABBATHThe seventh day of the week. Shabbat; the day of rest,
one of the central features of Judaism.
SEDERThe order of the home ceremony observed on the first
night of the Passover festival.
YAHRZEITAnniversary, the Yiddish name for
anniversary of a parent or other close relative who is obligated to
ZIONOne of the names for the city of Jerusalem.
Figure 1-13C.-Essential elements for Jewish worship.