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  • bar mitzvah

    Jewish coming-of-age ceremony/celebration for a 13-year-old boy; the boy who has come of age.

  • bat mitzvah

    in gender egalitarian communities, the ceremony of a 13- (or 12-) year-old girl's first calling up to the Torah, symbolizing her adulthood in Jewish life. can also refer to the girl herself. In Orthodox communities, refers to celebration of girl turning 12. "Celebration of a Jewish girl's coming of age; a girl who has reached that age." (Glinert)

  • challah

    "The braided egg bread that traditionally is eaten on almost every Jewish holiday and [the Sabbath]" (JPS)

  • chutzpah

    guts (positive)

  • goy

    a nation, but not the Jewish nation

  • hanukkah

    The winter-time festival that commemorates the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabean revolt in the second century B.C.E. (lit. "dedication")

  • Hasid

    A disciple of a rabbi, not only a member of a Hasidic group.

  • Kabbalah

    a Jewish mystical work, sometimes used as a catch-all term for Jewish mysticism. "The Jewish mystical tradition" (JPS)

  • klezmer

    "Eastern European style of instrumental music" (JPS)

  • kosher

    "acceptable according to Jewish [ritual] law" (JPS); "trustworthy, reliable" (Rosten); acceptable according to dietary laws

  • l'chaim

    traditional toast. [lit. "to life" (Rosten)]

  • maven

    "An expert or connoisseur; a specialist" (JPS)

  • mazel tov

    congratulations [lit. "good fortune"]

  • mazume

    "A group of three or more adult males who join together to recite the after-meal blessings..." (Steinmetz).

  • menorah

    candelabrum, especially for Chanukah

  • meshuga


  • mezuzah

    a piece of parchment with the Shema written on it that is then placed in a case and mounted on doorways in keeping with the Biblical commandment mentioned in the Shema

  • mitzvah

    Literally, "commandment"

  • seder

    order, orderliness, system, routine

  • Sephardic

    Jews whose ancestors came from the Iberian Peninsula before the Jewish expulsion