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  • aleph-bet

    n. "A name for the Hebrew alphabet" (JPS)

  • arba kosot

    n. "The four glasses of wine drunk on Passover" (Glinert).

  • aufruf

    n. Celebration when, traditionally, the groom, and as of recently in egalitarian communities, the engaged couple is called to the Torah at the Shabbat before their wedding; that aliyah itself (aufruf means literally "to call up").

  • Av

    n. The eleventh month of the Jewish calendar (or fifth if counting from Nisan).

  • bashert

    predicate adj. "Predestined, fated" (JPS).

  • bench

    v. JPS: "To recite a blessing. It usually refers to Birkat ha-Mazon, the Grace after Meals... The word can also refer to the reciting of any blessing; for example, the expression bentsch licht means to light Shabbat [or Chanukah] candles."

  • bencher

    n. Prayer booklet or card with the text of the blessings after meals, and often times including other meal-time blessings and songs.

  • besamim

    n. "Literally, 'spices.' It almost always refers to the spices in the spice box used for the Havdalah ceremony" (JPS).

  • bikur cholim

    v. Visiting the sick.

  • bracha

    n. Blessing (in the technical or figurative sense).

  • chametzdik

    adj. Containing or contaminated with chametz (and therefore unfit to be used or eaten by observant Jews on Pesach).

  • chazan

    n. The official at a synagogue who leads the congregation in prayer and song (JPS).

  • chazir

    n. Pork.

  • cheder

    n. Hebrew and religious classes (often on Sundays) for elementary school children.

  • Cheshvan

    n. The second month of the Jewish calendar (or eighth if counting from Nisan).

  • cholent

    n. "A slow-cooked stew made of beef, beans, potatoes, and other vegetables. Cholent is a common Sabbath dish..." (JPS).

  • chrain

    n. A spicy paste made from grated horseradish.

  • daven

    v. Pray; lead services.

  • davka

    adv. Even; despite expectations to the contrary -- often with a slightly amused or ironic feeling of "wouldn't you know it?" or "of all things" ("of all people" ... etc.)

  • derech eretz

    adj. Participating in modern society.