Commonly Used Vocabulary at Adath Jeshurun Congregation
Adath Jeshurun: Gathering of the Righteous. The name for the people of Israel found in Deuteronomy.
Aliyah: One of the eight portions of Torah read on a Shabbat morning. One person chants each aliyah, and the same person may take the honor of saying the blessings before and after the reading. In many cases, a different person takes the honor of saying the blessings.
Amidah: Word literally means “standing”. This prayer is about praise, petition and thanksgiving is recited while standing.
Ark: known in Hebrew as Aron Kodesh. This is the tall, decorative cabinet in which we keep our sacred Torah scrolls. It is opened twice during the Shabbat morning service to remove, and then return, the Torah scrolls before and after they are used for chanting.
Auf Ruf: Pre-marriage Aliyah before the wedding.
Bar Mitzvah: literally—“son of commandment”. The stage at which a Jewish boy is considered having reached maturity and responsibility for Jewish observances and commitments; this occurs on the 13th birthday.
Bat Mitzvah: literally—“daughter of commandment”. The stage at which a Jewish girl is considered having reached maturity and responsibility for Jewish observances and commitments; this occurs on the 13th birthday (and in some traditions, the 12th birthday).
Beit Tinokot: Adath’s Infant Child Care Program for infants ages 6 weeks to 16 months.
Bimah: literally—“stage”. The area up in the front of a sacred space, sometimes a raised platform. Ritual leaders and Torah readers stand on the bimah while doing their assigned parts in the service.
Birkat Hamazon: Grace after Meals. Consist of four blessings—for food, for the land of Israel, for Jerusalem as the focus for our religious life, and for God’s generosity. It concludes any meal that begins with HaMotzi.
Boker Tov: Literally—Good Morning.
Bracha: Literally—a blessing.
Brit Milah: Circumcision ceremony that takes place 8 days after the birth of a Jewish male.
B’ruchim HaBaim: Welcome.
B’Yachad: Literally—together. Adath’s Sunday School for Kindergarten and First Graders.
Camp Mishpacha: Adath’s Summer Camp for Toddlers, Preschoolers and PreKers.
Cantor: Hazzan—leads the congregation in chanting prayers and acts as the representative of the congregation in offering prayer.
Chag Sameach: Happy Holiday. It is used on any Jewish holiday.
Chevra Kavod HaMet: Literally—Community to honor the deceased. Provides traditional Jewish funerals and helps to strengthen the living through tradition and education.
Chumash: Book of Torah Readings and Haftarot with commentary. The word is related to chamesh, which in Hebrew is the number 5. The five books are:
Daven: Recite Jewish liturgical prayers.
D’rash or D’rasha: like a d’var Torah, means talk about Torah. From the Hebrew word lidrosh meaning to speak or interpret.
D’var Torah: Literally, “word of Torah”. A speech in the form of a sermon that, in this case, is both crafted and delivered by the bar/bat mitzvah linked to the sacred texts chanted that same morning.
Dupont Circle: informal Tuesday noon study group which meets twice monthly in the US Bank building downtown—named in honor of Adath’s former address on Dupont Avenue.
Eilat: Informal home study group named or the Israeli city.
Erev Tov: Good Evening.
Etz Chayim: Literally—Tree of Life. Adath’s environmental initiative.
Etzion: Informal study group for Adath senior adults. Meets monthly at the synagogue with Jim Sherman.
Gabbaim: The two people who stand at the sides of the Torah reader whenever Torah is being chanted to ensure that the readings are chanted correctly. They possess knowledge of Torah chanting, laws and customs of the synagogue.
Gan Shelanu: Literally—Our Garden. Adath’s preschool program for children ages 6 weeks through PreK.
G’milut Hasadim: showing up to do acts of loving kindness.
Gollel(let): Person who dresses the Torah.
Gut Shabbos: Yiddish greeting for Good Sabbath. Similar to Shabbat Shalom.
Gut Yontif: Yiddish greeting for Good Holiday. Similar to Chag Sameach.
Hachansat Orchim: The Mitzvah of Welcoming Guests
Hadlakat Nerot: Candle lighting.
Haftarah: Selection from reading of the books of the Prophets (Nevi’im), thematically linked to parsha (see Parsha below).
Hagba-ha: Person who raises/lifts the Torah for the congregation to see after the Torah is read.
Halacha: Jewish legal tradition. Taken from the Hebrew to walk/how one is guided.
Hallel: Psalms of praise added to service on selected holidays i.e. Rosh Hodesh.
HaMotzi: Brief blessing that precedes any substantial meal. It is recited before eating bread and it praises God for bringing forth (motzi) bread from the earth. It does not bless the bread itself.
Hazzan: Cantor—leads the congregation in chanting prayers and acts as the representative of the congregation in offering prayer.
Havdalah: Service on Saturday afternoon/early evening or at the end of a holiday marking the end of Shabbat or holiday. The blessing is said when there are three stars appear in the sky. Its blessing express our lingering sense of holiness as we separate from holy time, and our wish to return to our daily routine refreshed and with hope.
Hesed: Loving kindness. Adath’s social action committee is an umbrella organization that supports programs involving issues of concern.
High Holy Days: Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
Hillsiders: Formerly “Over the Hillside’, programming for senior adult congregants includes an annual retreat, Pesach luncheon and the Etzion Study Group.
Inclusion: Adath’s committee to reach out to peoples with disabilities as well as their families.
JDAIM: Jewish Disabilities Awareness and Inclusion Month typically in February to acknowledge people with disabilities.
Junior Congregation: Shabbat Morning Programming for children (and parents) during the school year.
Kabbalat Shabbat: The service on Friday night that ushers in Shabbat.
Kaddish: Prayer of Praise; concludes service sections.
Kadima: Literally going forward. 7th and 8th grade youth programming
Kedusha: Prayer of sanctification chanted during the Amidah.
Keruv: Literally drawing close. Adath’s committee to “bring close” those who may feel marginalized or without a place or voice in the Adath community.
Kiddush: Kiddush is recited over a cup of wine one the evening of the Sabbath and festivals, and again in the morning after services. A Kiddush reception, including refreshments is often held after services on Shabbat, especially when there is a Bar Mitzvah/Bat Mitzvah.
Kinnus: Annual Emtza (Middle) Region USY convention held Thanksgiving weekend.
Kippah: Head covering.
Kol Hakavod: Literally—all honor to you! More commonly known/used to say “It is a job well done.”
Lake Windsor: the pond immediately behind the synagogue, The Tashlich ceremony is held there on Rosh Hashana.
Large Muscle Room: aka the Gan Multi-Purpose Room. The large gym-like room in the Education Wing of the synagogue on the lower level.
Lilah Tov: Good Night.
Ma’ariv: Evening service held every day of the year. Also known as Arvit, which comes from the word Hebrew word Erev which means evening. The main prayers in the service are the Shema and Amidah.
Maccabees: 4th—6th grade youth programming
Machzor: Prayer book used on the High Holidays—Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Maftir: The final aliyah on a Shabbat morning (or major holiday). The honor of saying blessings before and after the Maftir is always given to the person who will read the Haftarah.
Mazel Tov: Congratulations.
Megillah (Megillot): Scroll.
M’dor l’dor: Literally from one generation to another.
Mincha: Afternoon Service held every day of the year. The word means gift in biblical Hebrew. It is named for the most modest offering the Jews gave in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The main prayer of this service is the Amidah.
Minyan: A quorum of ten (10) Jewish adults needed for public prayer. In Orthodox settings only men may be counted in a minyan. In Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform settings women count in a minyan.
Mishe’bei-rach: A special blessing offered for those celebrating a baby naming, upcoming marriage, recovering from an illness, a special anniversary or birthday or upcoming trip to Israel.
Mo’adim l’simcha: Literally—Joyous Times. This greeting is used on the middle days of Pesach and Sukkot called Chol Hamoed (the days when work is permitted).
Musaf: Additional service. Said on Shabbat, Rosh Hodesh and major holidays.
Ner Tamid: Everlasting light.
Niggun: Wordless melody.
Parsha: The portion of the Torah scroll chanted on a Shabbat morning. The Torah is divided up into 54 Parshiot (readings) that are read throughout the year. In order to complete the entire cycle on Simchat Torah, sometimes a double Parsha is read.
Parshat Hashuva: Weekly Torah portion.
Pidyon HaBen: redemption of the first-born son is a mitzvah in Judaism whereby a Jewish firstborn son is "redeemed" by use of silver coins from his birth-state of sanctity, i.e. from being predestined by his firstborn status to serve as a priest.
P’sukei D’Zimra: Literally, “verses of song” in Aramaic. These are the preliminary prayers of the morning service. The prayers are mostly drawn from Tehillim (Psalms).
Rabbi: Teacher—conducts the service.
Rosh Hodesh: New (Head) Month.
Sefer Torah: Torah Scroll.
Seudah Shelisheet: Third Meal eaten on Shabbat afternoon after Shabbat Mincha.
Shabbaton: Weekend experience for people to observe and celebrate Shabbat together.
Shabbat Shalom: Literally “Peaceful Sabbath”. Greeting said on Shabbat.
Shacharit: The morning prayer service held every day of the year. The major components of the service are the Shema and Amidah. The Torah is chanted as part of the Shacharit service on Mondays, Thursdays, Shabbat and holiday mornings. The word Shacharit comes from the word shachar which means dawn.
Shaliach Tzibur: Representative of the congregation in leading prayers.
Shavua Tov: Literally—Good Week. Greeting typically said at the conclusion of Havdalah.
Shiva: First seven days of mourning.
Shloshim: First thirty days of mourning.
Siddur: Prayer book.
Simcha (Plural—S'machot): A joyous Jewish occasion—such as a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Simchat Bat: Baby naming ceremony for a girl.
SMP: Shabbat Morning Program. The program on Shabbat morning that provides instruction to the 5th—8th graders for B’nai Mitzvah and Leadership Training Skills. It is staffed by adults and teens.
SPA: Soulful Prayer at Adath
Tallit (Tallis): Prayer shawl.
TAMID: Literally—eternal. Adath’s cultural arts committee. An acronym for Theatre, Arts, Music, Israel and Dance.
Tanach: Mnemonic for the Bible: Torah, Nevi’im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (Writings—i.e.
Megillot and Psalms).
Tefillah (Tefillot): Prayer (Prayers).
Tefillin: Leather boxes that contain passages from the Torah to fulfill the mitzvah "And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand and they should be an ornament between your eyes" (Exodus 13). They are worn on the left arm (if you are right handed) and above the forehead during morning prayers on weekdays. They serve to remind us of God's miracles and to dedicate our powers of thought, emotions and actions to God’s service.
Tikkun: Book of all Torah and Haftarah portions used to learn the readings.
Tikkun Olam: Literally—Repair of the World.
Torah: Five Books of Moses.
Trope: Musical notes used to chant Torah (major key) and Haftarah (minor key).
Tuesday Torah: Spirited study group that meets weekly from 12:00Noon to 1:00pm at the synagogue for a discussion on the weekly Torah portion and other themes with occasional lunches.
Torah for Tots: Weekly Shabbat Morning Programming for children ages 2 to PreK while their parents attend Services.
Tumbling Tots: Shabbat Morning Programming for families with children who are Infants to PreK.
Tzedakah: Giving money/charity with justice (tzedek) at the core.
Tzizit: Knotted fringes on a Tallit.
USY: United Synagogue Youth—9th—12th grade youth programming
Yad: Torah Pointer.
Yad Sima Tova: Adath’s Caring Community reaches out to elderly and homebound congregants with transportation, visits, meals and services of the congregational nurse.
Yahrzeit: Anniversary of date of death.
Yasher Koach: Yiddish greeting literally—May your strength be righteous. More popular way to translate this is ‘more power to your’ or ‘great job’. In Hebrew the phrase is grammatically modified depending upon who is being addressed:
Yizkor: Memorial Service added to services on Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, Pesach and Shavuot.