aliya (ah-li-YAH) listen
aliya (uh-LI-yuh) listen


  • n. Ascent.

  • n. "Calling to the reading of the Torah." (Glinert)

  • n. Ascent of the soul of a deceased person to a higher level, as is believed to happen on their yartzeit.

  • n. Immigration to Israel.

  • n. A calling up to perform hagba or gelilah.

Example Sentences

  • "This experience was a spiritual aliyah for me."

  • "Rachel made aliya last year."

  • "Noach has the first aliyah."

  • "May your mother's neshamah have an aliyah."

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew
  • Modern Hebrew


  • Heb עליה (or עלייה, esp. for 'immigration' sense) aliyá, Yiddish עליה alíe

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
      • Israel: Diaspora Jews who feel connected to Israel and have spent time there


      • North America
      • Great Britain
      • South Africa
      • Australia / New Zealand


      • Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
      • Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Popular Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).

      Alternative Spellings

      alia, alie, aliya, alliyah


  • Plural aliyot / aliyahs / aliyas.

    The moving to Israel definition: pronounced ah-lee-YAH and used as a periphrastic verb with the word "to make." According to David Gold, in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s the correlate phrase was "go on aliya" or (by Anglophones in the Land of Israel) "come on aliya," and research is needed to determine how this change occurred in the 1960s (Gold 1985, p. 284).

    See also rishon, sheni, shlishi, revi'i, chamishi, shishi, and shvi'i.

Edit     Something missing from this entry? Inaccurate? Feel free to suggest an edit.