Alternative Spellings

sh'ma, shma


  • prayer recited in most services as well as at bedtime, and when death is imminent; one of the most important and well-known prayers in Judaism

Example Sentences

  • The Shema can be found on page 94 of your machzors.

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew


שמע ישראל 'Hear O Israel'

Who Uses This

Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education


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


The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
JPS: The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)


קריאת שמע k'riat sh'ma (Ashkenazi Hebrew/Yiddish: krishme) 'reading/recitation of the Shema'

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