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Jewish Dictionary

An index of common Jewish terms, as well as sayings in both Hebrew and Yiddish.

How Did Jews Come Up With the Current Date on the Hebrew Calendar?
Have you ever wondered how Jews determined how many years are on the Hebrew calendar?

Sukkah - Definition of a Sukkah
A sukkah is a temporary dwelling built during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.

What Are the Four Species?
The Four Species play an important role in the holiday of Sukkot, where they take the form of a lulav and an etrog.

What is Midrash?
Midrash is a form of rabbinic literature. There are two types of midrash: midrash aggada and midrash halakha.

What Is the Meaning of Shomer?
What does it mean when someone is shomer kashrut or shomer shabbat?

What Is a Bracha?
This article explains what a bracha is and also gives examples of different kinds of brachot.

What Is a Mensch?
"Mensch" is a Yiddish word that describes a person of integrity.

What Is the Meaning of Shomer?
What does it mean when someone is shomer kashrut or shomer shabbas?

What Is a Mitzvah?
A mitzvah is a commandment from God. Since Judaism is more of an action-based than faith-based religion, performing mitzvot, or God's commandments, is central to leading a Jewish life.

What Is a Cantor?
In Judaism a cantor, also known as a chazzan or hazzan, is the person who leads the congregation in prayer. Cantors play an important role in Jewish religious life because music is an important part of Jewish prayer services.

What Is Challah?
Challah is a loaf of yeast-leavened egg bread that is traditionally eaten by Jews on the Sabbath, holidays, and other ceremonial occasions.

What Is Kiddush?
In Judaism kiddush refers to the ritual of sanctification, with blessings recited over a cup of wine, that is performed at the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish festivals. It is traditional to put the wine or grape juice used for the ritual in a decorative kiddush cup.

Definition of Mazel Tov (Yiddish Word)
"Mazel Tov" is a Hebrew phrase that literally means "good destiny" but is more commonly understood to mean "good luck" or "congratulations."

Definition of Shiksa (Yiddish Word)
Shiksa is a Yiddish word that refers to a non-Jewish woman who is either romantically interested in a Jewish man or who is a Jewish man's object of affection.

The Five Books of Moses
The Five Books of Moses are the biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Definition of Chutzpah (Yiddish Word)
Chutzpah is a Yiddish word that is used by Jews and non-Jews alike to describe someone who is particularly audacious or has a lot of "guts."

Definition of Kvetch (Yiddish Word)
Kvetch is a Yiddish word that means "to complain."

Definition of Naches (Yiddish Word)
Naches is a Yiddish word that means "pride" or "joy."

Definition of Verklempt (Yiddish Word)
Verklempt is a Yiddish word that means "overcome with emotion."

Yiddish Dictionary
Definition of Yiddish words and expressions.

Definition of Bubkes (Yiddish Word)
Bubkes is a Yiddish word that is used to refer to something with little or no perceived value.

What Are the Noahide Laws?
Many who are considering conversion to Judaism opt to commit to the seven Noahide Laws, the minimum moral duties required by the Torah for everyone.

The Best of Basic Judaism Books
There are dozens of "how to" and "about guides" to Judaism out there, so how do you know which one is right for you? Check out these Judaism 101 books!

What is a shtreimel?
If you've seen a religious Jewish man walking around with a relic of furry, colder days in Russia, you might be curious about the shtreimel!

What is a Kittel?

What is the Mikvah?
A mikvah is so critical to a Jewish community that the Talmud prioritizes building a mikvah over a synagogue! How much do you know about mikvah?

What is Tzom Tammuz?
Tzom Tammuz is probably one of the lesser known of Judaism's many fast days. Occuring in the summer, it kicks off the "three weeks" in Judaism.

What Makes Wine Mevushal?
Wine might seem an unlikely candidate for concern about kosher ingredients, but a past of use in pagan ritual means kosher wine has its own rules.

Jewish Hand Washing Rituals

Finding Your Bashert
You may have heard a Jewish friend talk about the dating game and finding their bashert, but have you ever heard someone mention finding their zivug?

What's a Segulah?
If you've been to a Jewish celebration of any kind, you might have witnessed a segulah without even knowing it! What are they and what do they mean?


If you’ve ever been to Israel or spotted a Kabbalah-loving celebrity, chances are you’ve seen the ever-popular red thread. Do you know its origins?

Shaving in Judaism
Shave and a haircut? If you’re Jewish, you have to think twice. The laws about shaving in Judaism are diverse and different communities observe different customs.

Traditions for the Month of Elul
The Hebrew month of Elul is chock full of holiness and activities that prepare for Jews for judgment on the High Holidays. Are you preparing?

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