Aleinu

Pronunciations

Aleinu (ah-LEY-noo) listen

Definitions

  • n. "A prayer in praise of God, Aleinu acknowledges the unique relationship between God and the Jewish people" (JPS)

Example Sentences

  • "Make room for yourself to kneel during Aleynu." (Glinert)

Languages of Origin

  • Textual Hebrew

Etymology

  • עלינו alenu 'it is upon us...', the opening word of the prayer

    • Who Uses This

      • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education
      • Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)

      Regions

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

      Dictionaries

      • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).
      • The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).

      Alternative Spellings

      Olaynu, Olainu, Oleynu, Oleinu, Alaynu, Alainu, Aleynu, Alenu, Olenu

Notes

  • "It is sung toward the end of synagogue services while the congregation stands. Originally from the High Holy Day liturgy, the Aleinu is now part of all services" (JPS). Many modern liturgies amend some of the more particularistic lines with more universal ones, emphasizing God's relationship with all people of which the Jewish people are a part.

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