Yiddishisms


av; (äv) noun: one of the Hebrew lunar months; also the Hebrew word for father

bracha; (bräKHä) noun: a blessing

chuppah; (chəpa) noun: the wedding canopy where the Jewish wedding ceremony takes place, symbolizing the home that they are about to build together

daven; (dɑvən) verb, davening, davened: translated most literally as “to pray,” or to communicate with G-d. usually includes a light shuckling, or swaying back and forth

ema; (ēmä) noun, Hebrew: mother, but in my life, my mother-in-law

emuna; (ĩmoonə) noun: faithfulness

kipah; (kēpä) noun, Hebrew: skullcap that a Jewish man wears to remind him that there’s something always above him; see yarmulke

magen david; (mägĩn dəvēd) noun, Hebrew: trans. lit.: star of David, found on the shield of David (as in David and Goliath). Also on the Israeli Flag

mashul; (məshəl) noun: a parable

neshama;(nĩshəmə) noun: a human soul (this is an important distinction, by the way, because humans are the only creatures that were created with a divine spark, although Judaism recognizes that animals do have souls as well)

pasuk; (päsək) noun: phrase of Hebrew found in the Torah or in Psalms

peyos; (pā’əs) noun: sidelocks

Rosh Hashanah; (rəsh həshənə) noun: lit. the head of the year; the Jewish new year. Commemorates the day God created humankind

seudah; (soodə) noun Hebrew: meal

shabbos; (shäbəs) noun: the Jewish Sabbath, starts before sundown on Friday night and ends after sundown on Saturday night

shamayim; (shämaiēm) noun Hebrew: heaven, sky, universe, literal dwelling of G-d

shomer negiah; (shōmər nəgēə) adjective Hebrew: lit. guards touch; refraining from touching a member of the opposite sex that one is not immediately related to (i.e., father, grandfather, brother, mother, sister, grandmother)

shomer shabbos; ( shäbəs) adjective: one who follows all of the laws of the shabbos, and refrains from all of the 39 categories of forbidden activities

shuckle; (shək’l) verb, shuckling, shuckled: lightly or vigorously swaying back and forth while praying (to make the experience physical as well as emotional and intellectual)

shul; (shəl) noun: synagogue, a Jewish house of worship

simanim; (sēmənēm) noun: lit. symbols; symbolic foods placed on the Rosh Hashanah table as a good omen for the rest of the year. For example, the head of a fish – to be like the head, and not the tail

sukkot: (sookōt) noun: Holiday when Jewish families build huts outside their house and eat/sleep/live in them for a week; serves to commemorate the clouds of glory that kept the Jewish people safe while wandering in the dessert, in English called The Festival of Huts. Yes, that’s right — Festival of Huts.

tikun olam; (tēkoon ōləm) verb: to repair the world; noun: the act of repairing the world

Torah; (tōrə) noun: Jewish holy text, 5 books of Moses

yarmulke; (yärməlk) noun, Yiddish: skullcap, see kipah

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