Glossary of Jewish Terms and Phrases (A – K)

Glossary of Jewish Terms and Phrases (A – K)

For Future Reference

HaShem lit. “the Name”: used in lieu of The Ineffable Name to refer to G-d

Baruch Hashem: Bless The Name! used like, “thank G-d!” abbrev. B”H!

B’Ezrat Hashem: “G-d willing!” or “with the help of G-d.”

BS”D: abbr. for “BSiyata D‘Shmaya,” an oft-used Aramaic term meaning “with the help of Heaven”

Abba: father.

Ahava: love; Ahavas Yisrael, “love of fellow Jew.”

: to go up. immigration to Israel, “make aliyah”; to go up to the Torah in front of a congregation.

Assur: forbidden.

: Eastern European Jew

Avodah: Service of G-d, like works and prayer.
On three things the world stands – On the Torah, on Avodah, and on Deeds of Chesed (Lovingkindess) Perkei Avos 1:2.

Avodah Zora lit. “strange service”: idol worship.

Ayin Hora: the evil eye!

B’: in.

Ba’al tshuva lit. “one who returns”: a newly observant Jew. abbr. BT.

Bentch, bentching:
(Yiddish) Grace After Meals

Bochur, pl. bochurim: young man, esp. unmarried student, “yeshiva bochur”

Bar mitzvah: 13-year-old boy now responsible for fulfilling the commandments; the ceremony at which this rite of passage occurs. bat mitzvah for girls. comparable to confirmation for Catholics.

B’emet lit. in truth: “Really?”; “Really!”

Beis HaMikdash: the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Built twice but destroyed by invaders. Rebuilding of the third Temple in a Messianic Age is central in Jewish liturgy and theology.

Bikkur cholim: visiting the sick

B’nei: children; i.e. B’nei Yisrael (“children of Yisrael”), B’nei Noach (“children of Noah”) and B’nei Brith (lit. “children of the covenant”).

Brit (mila)
lit. “covenant”: circumcision.

B’shert: destined; one’s soulmate/spouse.

Bubbe: grandmother

B’vakasha: “Please”; “You’re welcome.”

Chag Sameach: “happy holiday!”

braided egg bread for Shabbas and holidays

Chas v’shalom lit. mercy and peace: “G-d forbid!” abbr. c”v”s. Also, chas v’chalila.

Chavrusa: study partner or group.

Charedi: ultra-observant or “ultra-Orthodox.” black hat-wearing Jews.

Charem: state of excommunication, shunning

Chassan: groom

(abbr. of Chachomim, Zichronom L‘Vracha): our Sages, may their Memories (be) for a Blessing.

cantor, i.e. singer of Hebrew liturgy.

Chazer: pig.

Chilul HaShem lit. “defamation of the Name”: a scandalous act or statement.

Chumash lit. “five”: The Five Books of Moses.

Chumra: stringency.

: wedding canopy.

Chutzpah: sass, moxy; nerve, gall.

Chiloni: Israeli non-affiliated (secular) Jew.

Dayeinu “Enough,” “It Would Have Sufficed,” a Seder song; “Enough already!”

Daven: pray.

Derech lit. “the path”: Jewish observance. often used as on/off the derech. “his mom is terrified he’ll go off the derech.”

Diaspora: those Jews not living in Israel.

Din: judgement

Drasha: sermon

Dreidel: toy top used on Hannukah

D’var Torah lit. “word of Torah”: speech of Torah insights.

Emet: Truth.

Emunah: trust in Hashem

Eretz Yisrael: The Land of Israel

Farbrengen (Yiddish): gathering, party, esp. religious or family party

Frum: religious, Orthodox. “he’s so frum.”

Galus lit. “exile”: where the Diaspora lives

Gan Aden: The Garden of Eden

money, esp. as Hannukah gift.

Ger lit. “sojourner”: convert to Judaism.

divorce document.

Golem: legendary automaton brought to life from clay by Jewish mysticism (Kabbalah).

Gevalt: interjection of shock, dismay, or alarm (from Yiddish gvald “emergency”)

Goyim lit. nations: gentiles.

Ha: The

HaEretz: lit. “the land.”

HaLacha lit. “the way”: Jewish law.

Halachic, halachically: by Jewish law.

HaKodesh Baruch Hu: The Holy One, Blessed He; a name for G-d.

Hasid (pl. Hasidim) lit. “pious” or going beyond: a member of a Hasidic sect, or compliment, “he’s such a hasid.”

Hasidism: an Orthodox movement focusing on chesed and going beyond the letter of the law in observance.

Chesed: loving-

Hashkafa: Jewish philosophy.

Heter: halachic loophole. “his rabbi gave him a heter for fasting on Yom Kippur.”

the blessing over bread

winter holiday memorializing the victory over the Hellenists and the miracle of the lamp that burned for 8 nights.

Ima: mother

Im Yirtzeh Hashem: if Hashem wills it… abbr. IY”H, IYH

Kabbalas HaTorah: “receiving the Torah”

Kabbalah lit. “receive”: Jewish physics and mystical interpretations

Kaddish: mourner’s prayer

Kallah: bride

Kashrus: the laws of kosher-ness

Kefira: doubt or denial of G-d, sometimes considered mildly heretical, sometimes permitted. See here. LOL!!

Kedushin: the marriage ceremony

Kelev lit. “like heart”: a dog.

Kehilla: congregation; community

Ketubah lit. “writ”: marriage contract.

Kibbutz (pl. kibbutzim): Israeli collective farm

Kiddush: prayer/blessing for wine

Kiddush HaShem lit. sanctification of the Name: selfless act, glorious deed. opposite of chillul Hashem

Kinderlach: (small) children.

Kippah (pl. kippot): skullcap, yarmulke.

Kiruv lit. “to bring close”: religious outreach.

Klal Yisrael: The Jewish People

Klezmer: Yiddish music.

Kodesh: holy.

Kohen (pl. kohanim): descendant of Moses, Aaron; thus, a member of the priest class, which is still functioning.

Kol Ha’Kavod lit. “All of the respect”: all right, way to go, or a job well done. Can be used sarcastically.

Kosher: acceptable under Jewish law

Kotel: the Western Wall.

Kvell: derive deep pride or intense satisfaction. “she kvelled over her children.”

Kvetch: whine(r), complain(er)