gabai (gah-BAI) listen
gabai (GAH-bai) listen


  • n. The (lay) person who calls Jews to say blessings over the Torah reading and follows along with the Torah reading to correct any mistakes.

  • n. The officer of the synagogue who determines which congregants are to receive Torah honors at the service.

  • v. To serve as gabai.

Example Sentences

  • "Lisa is gabbai today, so she'll be giving out the aliyahs."

  • "We have a gabbai rishon [the one who calls people to say the blessings and follows along], but we still need a gabbai sheni [the one who only follows along to correct mistakes]."

  • "I'm gabbai-ing at shul this weekend."

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew


  • גבאי

    • 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 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

      gabbay, gabbai


  • Also called a shammes (שמש).

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