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  • aleichem sholom

    interj. Peace be upon you (response to "sholom aleichem").

  • almemar

    n. The platform on which the Torah is read in synagogue; the bima.

  • am haaretz

    n. Bumpkin, ignoramus, uneducated person.

  • apikoros

    n. Heretic, non-believer, especially one with great knowledge of Judaism.

  • arbes

    n. Boiled chickpeas.

  • Ashkenazic

    adj. Adjectival form for 'Ashkenazim', "The name given to the group of Jews who were originally from Germany and France, and their descendants" (JPS).

  • askan

    n. A person who is influential in working for the community.

  • 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).

  • avade

    adv. Of course. / Obviously!

  • averah

    n. Religious transgression (Glinert: "An aveirah is an infringement on the Torah, the opposite of a mitzvah.").

  • b'laz

    adv. Abbreviation for "B'loshn am zar", "in a foreign language"; usually used by the commentator Rashi when using a Middle French expression.

  • bagel

    n. "A leavened, firm, doughnut shaped roll" (JPS).

  • balaboosta

    n. Female head of household.

  • balabos

    n. Male head of a household.

  • bashert

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

  • becher

    n. 2-handle cup for ritual washing of the hands before eating.

  • bekishe

    n. Long black coat worn by Hasidic men.

  • 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."

  • blech

    n. An electric hot plate or "sheet of metal that can be placed over the burners on a stove to retain heat, so that precooked food...can be kept warm during the Sabbath." (JPS)