Wednesday, January 10, 2007



the Autodidact: One of Harley’s closest friends and confidants, this brilliant person keeps the women of Jewbiquitous informed and intellectually honest

CJ: Annie’s boyfriend. She is trying very hard not to freak out at that definition. He is, for the record, very sweet and understanding of her strange and sudden commitment-phobia. Also, her friends love him.

: one of Annie’s (many) ex-boyfriends

the Iowan: one of Annie's three roommates, not Jewish (shocking, we know)

PBF: Annie's platonic (male) best friend, and before any of you classical scholars say anything, not Symposium-era Plato.

the Pretty Boy: an inordinately attractive Italian-American, with whom Harley
has positive interactions

the Professor
: a well-respected, if somewhat eccentric boomer-age college professor

the Queen of the World: Annie and Harley's mentor and friend, the coolest woman ever to grace us with her presence.

the Queen of Words: the Queen of the World's best friend and invaluable resource, advisor, and editor to the women of Jewbiquitous

the other roommate: one of Annie's three roommates, went to high school with the roommate

the roommate: one of Annie's three roommates, went to college with Annie

the roommate's gentleman caller: at this point he's her boyfriend, but it was a funny title. And yes, that IS how he was introduced at Shabbes meals

the Rooster (TR): a devout atheist who studies philosophy, he is a friend of Harley


The 39 prohibited categories are known in Hebrew as the "Avot Melachot" a single one is a "melacha." These categories come from Exodus 31, where it states "You must keep the Sabbath;" lists the activities that were done in the building of the tabernacle, and then finishes with "the Israelites should thus keep the Sabbath." Commentators took this to mean that "keeping the Sabbath" entailed abstaining from these labors, and used the process of exegesis to tease out what behaviors/actions could be considered as "melachot." That is why I don't use electricity on Shabbes.

Adon Olam means Lord of the World and is the prayer that concludes the Saturday morning service.

Aishet chayil: a woman of valor. There is a song, traditionally sung on Friday nights by the man of house to his wife of the same name. It lists the qualities of a woman of valor, which include, but are not limited to: the ability to make cloth of crimson, industriousness, loyalty. For the record, I could totally make some kickass crimson cloth.

Amidah comes from the Hebrew word for standing, and refers to the silent devotion, which is part of every prayer service. During the weekday it is comprised of 18 blessings, so it is often called the "Shemoneh Esrei" or 18.

Ashkenazi are European Jews, particularly those with ancestry in Eastern Europe

is Hebrew for forbidden, often used in the context of those acts considered permissible or forbidden by rabbinic literature.

Avodah Zara. Avodah Zara literally means foreign or strange work (offerings), and is the Talmudic/Biblical term used for idol worship or any practice which is the ritual of another religion. For instance, some people believe that it is forbidden to do classical Indian dance, even out of context, because it was used as a part of religious ceremonies.

Baalei Tshuva: lit. those who have returned, people who were not raised traditionally observant, but chose the lifestyle later in life, often are very, very observant

Bassarfest is a bastardization of the Hebrew word "bassar" or meat, and "fest" or festival. Harley’s friends call it “The Meal of Fleish,” fleish being Yiddish for flesh (mmmmmmeat).

Bedikah cloths: if you don't know exactly what these are, I am not going to tell you. Let’s just say that they are integral to some people's observance of the laws of family purity.

B'sheret means soul mate, it can also mean fated.

Bubbe is Yiddish for grandmother

Carrying” in this case means carrying anything. Traditionally observant Jews do not carry any objects on the Sabbath, be they keys, children, prayer books, etc. There are ways to get around this by "wearing" an object, such as keys on a belt, but for the most part it means just what it sounds like. No carrying

Chillul Hashem (also spelled hillul hashem) is a desecration of G-d's name through the actions of Jew who can be identified as Jewish. It’s generally used to refer to behavior that is seen as a public refutation of Jewish beliefs, often done by people who outwardly seem/look Jewish. For example, a Jew who spits on a poor person who is asking for money is committing a chillul hashem.

Chiloni: Hebrew for secular

Cholent is a traditional Sabbath dish, basically stewed meat, potatoes, beans and barley, seasoned differently depending on the background of the maker (Sephardic Jews tend to add prunes, apricots and eggs). It is useful because it can be made in a crock pot (slow cooking), toss in the ingredients and set it before the Sabbath starts, by the time that lunch rolls around you have a hot stew ready.

Daven: to pray

Erva is a classification for body parts/hair that require covering because it/they are alluring

Esa Enai is the Hebrew version of Psalm 121:1-2: I will lift up my eyes to the j mountains. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

FFB: Frum From Birth, people who were born and raised traditionally observant

Fleishik means of meat, generally used to refer to utensils or restaurants

Galus is the Ashkenazik (European) pronounciation of the word galut, which means Diaspora, but has a definite pejorative connotation.

Hagim, the plural for hag, means holidays'' in Hebrew.

Halakha is Jewish Law, traditionally defined as laws found in the Torah and elucidated in the Mishna, and Gemara

Hashem: the Name, an alternative title for God

Hashkafa: personal or individual religious observances/beliefs

Heksher is a sign on a product that declares it kosher, or acceptable for consumption by traditionally observant Jews

Im Yirtzeh Hashem means "if G-d wills it" or "by the grace of G-d" and is often used in the frum community when an engagement is announced, to the friends of the bride or groom, followed by the words "by you next" meaning that you should be the next to get engaged.

are the mothers, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. They are not generally given the same pride of place in traditional liturgy as their male counterparts

Kal v'chomer: Indicating an a fortiori argument, kal v' chomer translates loosely into, "all the more so."

Kashrut are the dietary laws, most well-known is the prohibition against eating pork

Kavanah is the Hebrew word for intention

Kiddush: from the word kadesh or holy, the word means "sanctification." In this context, however, it refers to the light refreshments served after a blessing is made over wine/grape juice to sanctify the day. Hot kiddush includes cholent (a meat stew) and kugel (a sort of pudding a la bread pudding, but often with noodles or potato) and could take the place of lunch.

Kiruv: outreach, often misused grammatically which ticks me off

Kol ha kavod is Hebrew for "all my respect" but can also mean "well done" or "good job." Sort of like the Australian "good on ya, mate."

Lashon Hara: lit. the evil tongue, refers to gossip (malicious or otherwise)

Leyning is the traditional chanting aloud from the torah that takes place three times a week, on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

L'havdil is a statement that means, basically, I am using these two together, and they may have some similarities, but you should not really compare them. It is generally used in a religious context, when comparing (or not) religious to secular people/ideas/etc.

L'shana habah b'Yerushalayim: Next year in Jerusalem, a phrase commonly used during Jewish holidays, particularly Passover and the end of Yom Kippur

Machlokes is a yiddishized version of machloket, meaning disagreement, generally used in the context of a disagreement between two Talmudic sages.

Melave Malke: literal meaning "accompanying the queen," traditionally a party/celebration to escort out the "Shabbat Queen" (Shabbat is often personified as a queen). This type of party is popular in Chassidic circles, and is often comprised of drinking, snack foods, and stories about the rebbe. According to some sources Melave Malkes were started by King David, whose death was foretold to occur on a Shabbat, so at the end of every Shabbat he celebrated his continued existence.

Mincha: the afternoon prayer service, takes about 15 minutes

Mincha Gedola is the afternoon service, performed at the earliest possible time allowed by traditional calculations, often following the morning service, separated by just a few minutes.

Minyan: a prayer quorum of 10. Every movement except the Orthodox accept that women can count in this quorum. Regardless of gender, each person must be at least 13 years of age to be counted.

Mitzvot literally means commandments (of which there are 613) but can also mean good deeds

Mizrahi are generally Jews from the Arab world and may occasionally be expanded to include Ethiopian Jewry (NB: the term Sephardi is often used incorrectly to describe Mizrahi Jews, when in fact Sephardi indicates Jews from Spain, alone; Sephardi also denotes religious practice, whereas Mizrahi is an ethnic label.)

Moadim L' Simchah: Hebrew, literally "times of gladness," used as a celebratory exclamation

Mohel: a rabbi specially trained to perform circumcisions.

: Member of the Tribe, a Jew, this phrase was used during WWII as a code by Jewish soldiers to figure out whether or not another soldier (who presumably had a last name as Anglo as mine) was Jewish

Motzei Shabbat means after the Sabbath ends, or after sundown on Saturday night, when three stars are visible in the sky

Nebby: short for nebbish, from the Yiddish nebbuch, meaning poor or unfortunate, in urban slang, a “scrub”

Not a sermon, just a thought”: This statement is often used by Lon Solomon, an evangelist who converted from Judaism, to sign off of his radio commercials for McLean Bible Church. If you're from the Metro DC Area you know what I'm talking about.

Nusach are the traditional melodies for prayers, which vary by geographic region, and also by whether the service takes place on a holiday, weekday, or Shabbat.

Orthoprax: this word means those who have “Orthodox Practice,” and encompasses non-denominational, or non-Orthodox Jews who are traditionally observant

: the five books of Moses. The name includes the prefix penta or five. Like Pentagon.

Piguah is colloquial Hebrew for a suicide bomb, or attack.

were state-sponsored, or sanctioned riots by Russians against the Jews who lived in the Pale of settlement, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

Posek: a person who can make rulings about Jewish law

Pru ur'vu is Hebrew for "be fruitful and multiply" it is the first positive commandment found in the Hebrew Bible.

Rav Kook was one of the great rabbis of the late 19th, early 20th century. He was chief rabbi of Palestine under the British Mandate, and made a lot of the halakhic (Jewish law) decisions on which the state of Israel is based.

sectarian: Sectarians don’t engage with other views, because they believe that they have no value; Jewish values trump all

Sedarim: the Hebrew plural for Seder. The direct translation of "seder" means order, but in this context it is the festival meal that takes place on the first night/two nights of Passover, generally including a great deal of ritual, and readings from a book of liturgy called the Haggadah.

is the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Shabbat, also known as the Sabbath.

is a match, as in "matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match," and generally refers to arranged dating as set up by a shadchan (matchmaker) or a go-between, usually a friend or family member.

Shimirat Negiah means to observe/keep the touch, and in practice is a set of halakhot (Jewish Laws) which govern the relations between men and women in terms of physical contact. It is generally interpreted to mean that no unmarried men and women may touch each other, and that one may only touch one’s spouse.

Shmooze is Yiddish for talk, hang out

Shomer halakha: shomer means “observe” in Hebrew, so ostensibly someone who is “shomer halakha” observes Jewish law. The content of that halakha and who should be ascribed that label are up for debate.

Shomer Shabbat means Sabbath observant, this can take a number of different forms, depending on your personal ideology, and the movement to which you ascribe. Traditionally observant people often refrain from using electricity, transacting business, cooking, working, and carrying.

Shul is Yiddish for synagogue

Shtetl literally means a small town in Yiddish

Shvach is a Yiddish for weak, and is generally used to describe something that is not so nice

Simchat Torah is the end of Sukkot and celebrates the fact that we have finished an entire cycle of reading the torah, and we turn it around to start over again. There is lots of dancing, and some drinking.

is Rabbinic Ordination

Taharat haMishpacha
literally means family purity, and refers to the period when a woman is nidda, on her period, and for the time afterwards before she goes to the ritual bath

Tanakh is the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, etc), prophets, and 'writings.' The name comes from the acronym of those words Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim.

Tfillin Dates are dates where the guy carries his Tfillin (morning prayer accoutrements) with him on a date so that after he sleeps over he can pray unhindered the next morning. Annie believes that this practice is mostly fictional, made up as a scare tactic by rabbis.

Treyf literally means carcass, and often refers to non-Kosher food, such as pigs and cheeseburgers.

Tzitzis are a four cornered garment with knotted fringes hanging from each corner, traditionally worn by religious Jewish males under their shirts. The garment is supposed to serve as a reminder to observe the 613 commandments.

Tzneias, or tznius is a yiddishized version of the Hebrew word tzniut, or modesty.

UJF: United Jewish Federation

Yenta is a Yiddish word and means a busybody, someone who is always in everyone else's business, especially as pertains to their romantic lives.


dash said...

i trust the glossary was my fault...anyway, thanks for the clarifications. as a yiddishist oceanographer i was familiar with some of the terms, but others left me baffled.

Anniegetyour said...

We are compiling definitions in response to your comment, but we've made a point of (trying, at least) to define any non-English words used in the blog. If only because Harley loves OED.

rokhl said...

I have one small issue with your use of the phrase "x is a yiddishised version of the hebrew word y". Like the words existed in some platonic hebrew form before hand and then were transformed by yiddish speakers.

These words weren't "yiddishised"- they were yiddish. Hebrew words and words of hebraic and aramaic origin make up a large part of yiddish. This is just the way people spoke, whether in yiddish or in loshen koydesh (hebrew).

What we think of now as "Hebrew" is, for most Americans, modern Israeli hebrew [ or as I refer to it, Israelized yiddish]

Anniegetyour said...

Rokhl- While I agree with you in principle, for most of the words where that phrase is used, it is because they are not being used as Yiddish words, but as Hebrew words with an Ashkenaz pronounciation. I'll change it to "Ashkenazic pronounciation."

Not Chosen said...

Well, if we're micro-managing here...JAP? That's Yiddish, right?

Annie said...

NC- not quite. JAP is not Yiddish, and not glossary-worthy.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

1. Lashon HaKodesh is, “The Holy Language” or literally, “The Holy Tongue.” Lashon HaKodesh can therefore never be twisted into incorrect pronunciation.

The vowels and pronunciation have been so severely distorted by the Chassidim and communities of Eastern Europe, or those of ashkenazi origin - that some words have unfortunately become unrecognisable. The problem persists until today, and it must be corrected – speedily.

2. The vowels can never be mixed up - because Hashem doesn't like the sound of it.

There IS a correct way to pronounce every letter of the Aleph Bet. We are not allowed to change Hashem's Torah.

Drastically changing the pronunciation of any letter is changing Hashem's Torah - and this is something very grave.

Every letter is extremely holy. Each letter has a particular sound - like a particular note. When that sound or "note" is played incorrectly e.g. I play a piano with a hammer instead of my fingers - then great damage is caused.

Damage is caused Above, and correspondingly, below.

3. In Hebrew, the vowel "A" is "a" and "U" is "u". So “Amein” is “amein”. The vowels cannot ever be twisted into “OOmein.” This is not Hebrew.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

4. Especially grave – is the stubborn and continual mispronunciation of Hashem’s NAME - for centuries - by the Chassidim. This is a blatant desecration of the 3rd Commandment, and a CHILLUL HASHEM – a public desecration of THE NAME of Hashem.

The NAME of HASHEM beginning ALEPH – DALED - NUN - - which is extremely Holy - is continually mispronounced every day. The “OH” sound cannot be changed into “EE”. The 2 cannot be mixed.

It is extremely urgent for all communities to correct this. It is very dangerous for the leaders: dayanim, rabbanim and rebbeim of communities to let this continue.

There is NO forgiveness for this aveirah.

The breaking of the THIRD Commandment is UNFORGIVABLE – “LO YENAKEH.”

“Lo Tissa et SHEM Hashem Elokecha lashav ki LO YENAKEH Hashem eit asher yissa et SHEMO lashav.” (Parsha of Yitro 20:7)

“You shall not take the NAME OF HASHEM, your G-d, in vain, for HASHEM WILL NOT ABSOLVE anyone who takes His NAME in vain.”

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

5. “ElokeiNU” means, “Our G-d.” But the Chassidim have twisted the vowels into, “ElokIYNEE”. What does “ElokIYNEE” mean? “NU” must be pronounced as “NU”. It does not turn into “NEE.”

a) “Yerushalayim” has been changed into, “YerISHU LAYIM”. What does “YERISHU LAYIM” mean? “They will INHERIT LAYIM?”

b) “Yom Tov” has been changed into, “YON TIF”. This is not Hebrew. Hashem gave us days which are “YOM TOV” – not YON TIF.

“YOM” ends with a “Mem” not a “Nun.”

“TOV” ends with a “BET” not a “Peh.”

These are glaring examples of how Lashon HaKodesh has been distorted into words that are unintelligible.

6. The “OH” sound cannot be changed into “OY” or “OIY”. “OY” is from Polish. Lashon HaKodesh cannot be mixed with Polish.

Some examples are below:

a) The word, “TORAH” has been distorted into the word, “TOIYRAH”.

b) The name of “MOSHE Rabbeinu” has been distorted into the word, “MOIYSHER.” Who is MOISHER?

It is MOSHE Rabbeinu who gave us the TORAH.

Moshe did not give us the ‘TOIYROH’, or ‘TOYREH,’ and the Torah was not given to the Jewish People by a man called ‘MOIYSHER RABAIYNU.’

The name of the greatest of all the Prophets is ‘MOSHE’. It is about time the ‘rabbis’ and ‘dayanim’ got this right.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

7. The last letter of the Hebrew Alphabet is a “TAFF”. But it has been changed into a “Saf”.

“Taff” is “TE.” It is not “Se.”

It is as if someone had a bad lisp (lithp) or had some teeth missing.

The Torah was not given in Munich or Hamburg. The Jewish People came out of Egypt, which is in the Middle East. This must be corrected very urgently.

On being called up to the TORAH (not TOIYreh), the correct way to say the Bracha (not ‘BRUCHA’ or ‘BROCHO’) is:



• The “AH” sound cannot be changed into an “OY/OIY” sound or an ‘AW’ sound. So when a beracha is made, a person should be saying:

“BAruch ATAH….” and NOT, “BOruch ATOY or Boruch ATAW……..”

8. The 8th letter of the Aleph Bet is “(G)HET”. It is guttural. It is not a “CHES.”

So a bridegroom is a (G)HATAN.
He is not a ‘CHATAN’ / ‘CHASSAN’ / ‘CHOSSON’/ ‘CHUSSON.’

9. The letter “AYIN” is guttural. The AYIN should not sound the same as the ALEPH.

The ashkenazi communities should start correcting their pronunciation.

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...

10. With regard to some Sephardi communities, such as those from Iraq:

The 6th letter of the Aleph Bet is a VAV. It is not a "WAW", as they may have been taught. "Waw" is incorrect.

The sound "WE" or "WA" is actually the NAME of Hashem.

When the 2 YUD's of Hashem's NAME are written together, the sound is "WA". However this is never pronounced. This is the only time where there is the sound "WA" in the Aleph Bet.

Here are some examples:

1. David HaMelech is "DaVID HaMelech." He is not "DaWEED HaMelech."

2. A mitzvah is a "MitzVAH." It is not a " MISSWAH " or a “MUSSWA..”

3. Mitzvot are "MitzVOT." They are not " MISSWOT " or “MUSSWOT”.

4. Mitzvotav are "MitzVOTAV." They are not "MitzWOTTAW."

Eliyahoo William Dwek said...


As Lashon HaKodesh is a Holy language, it cannot be mixed together with any other language. To say, “Good Shabbes!” or “Good Shabbos!” is mixing English – a Latin-based language with Lashon HaKodesh (distorted).

The correct way to greet your friend on Shabbat is to say, “Shabbat Shalom!” And with Lashon HaKodesh, a person is giving his or her friend the greatest greeting of all - SHALOM.

It is time that Lashon HaKodesh is pronounced correctly by all communities, both ashkenazi and sephardi.

It is especially important to make the changes to pronounce the NAME of Hashem correctly, and to begin to make a Kiddush HaSHEM in all our Tefillot.