Terminology

Do some of the terms and phrases you hear in this podcast go a bit over your head? Fret not! That’s what this index is for. It’ll be updated as episodes are released.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL): An international Jewish group that monitors and combats acts of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred.

Hashem: Hebrew for “The Name”. A term some Jews use to refer to G-d.

High Holidays: The series of very important Jewish holidays, usually occurring between mid-September and early November. The two most recognized are Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). They are considered the most sacred of all the Jewish holidays, hence why many Jews who may not go to synagogue a lot tend to go on these days.   

Hillel: A global Jewish social organization on college campuses. 

Kosher: A diet Jewish people are supposed to follow. That involves, among other things, not eating pork or shellfish and not mixing meat and dairy products. There are many organizations that certify kosher food.

Maimonides: A Jewish philosopher, rabbi, astronomer, physician, and royal advisor from the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages. Widely recognized as one of the most influential commentators on Jewish law in history.   

Mitzvah: A commandment from Jewish scripture. There are 613 in total. Some are as simple as to not gossip, and others are more complex, dealing with judicial issues like how to question a witness or when a judge may present their case. ‘Mitzvah’ also refers to a good deed, often done out of religious duty.

Moshiach: Hebrew for ‘Messiah,’ or the ‘Annointed One.’ Jews, like many religious groups, believe that one day the Messiah, a divine savior, will come and bring about a new age of peace. 

Reuben Sandwich: Usually contains pastrami, sour kraut, swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye bread. It’s a deliciously un-kosher abomination that can be found at many Jewish delis. 

Shabbat: The Jewish day of rest (sabbath). Runs from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday. Traditionally, Jews are supposed to observe the day of rest by not working, driving, using electricity, bowling, cooking or doing “any act of creation” during that time.

Tefillin: Also called ‘phylacteries.’ A set of small black leather boxes containing scrolls of parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah (Hebrew Bible). Jews are supposed to put them on once every day, except for Shabbat and major holidays.

The Tribe: One of several terms some Jews use to refer to other Jews. It’s a reference to the 12 Tribes of Israel. 

Yom Kippur: The Jewish Day of Atonement. The most sacred day of the year. Jews are supposed to fast for the day as they repent, as well as dress ‘down,’ not wear leather, or bathe. It’s one of the “High Holidays”.