Alternative Spellings

kalah, kala, kalla


  • Jewish communal gathering, conference
  • bride

Example Sentences

  • "My niece is a kallah!"
  • "I attended Kallah 2010, an international summer experience offered by BBYO held for 19 days at Camp Perlman in Starlight, Pa." (http://bbyo.org/news/in_the_news/kallah_spiritual_journey/)

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew, Aramaic, Yiddish


Heb כלה kalá 'bride', Yiddish כּלה kále 'bride(-to-be), fiancée'. See note re: 'conference' meaning.

Who Uses This

Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)
Organizations: People involved in a professional or volunteer capacity with Jewish nonprofit organizations


North America


The New Joys of Yiddish, by Leo Rosten and Lawrence Bush (New York, 2003[1968]).
Yiddish and English: A Century of Yiddish in America, by Sol Steinmetz (Tuscaloosa, 1986).
The Joys of Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert (New York, 1992).
Dictionary of Jewish Usage: A Guide to the Use of Jewish Terms, by Sol Steinmetz (Lanham, MD, 2005).
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001)


Bride meaning used mostly by center/right-wing Orthodox Jews. Conference meaning used by Jews in many youth groups and other organizations. The word with its 'conference' meaning is one of the few Textual Hebrew/Aramaic words used in Jewish English that are not used in Yiddish or Modern Hebrew. It comes from the Babylonian Talmud (Bava Batra 22a, Bava Kama 113a), where it refers to a large gathering of yeshiva students and rabbis held in Adar and Elul each year in the Amoraic and Geonic periods (Steinmetz Dictionary of Jewish Usage). Although it is spelled כּלה, it may be related to the Aramaic כּללא 'totality' (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/9163-kallah).

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