Aleinu

Alternative Spellings

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

Definitions

  • "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 line 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

Dictionaries

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

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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