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Experiencing the World's Religions, 2/e
Michael Molloy



Ashkenazim    Jews who lived in or came from central Europe.
bar mitzva    'Son of the commandment'; the coming-of-age ceremony that marks the time when a young person is considered a legal adult within the Jewish community.
biblical Judaism    Judaism before the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.).
Canaan    An ancient name for the land of Isreal.
Conservative Judaism    A branch of Judaism that attempts to blend the best of old and new Judaism.
covenant    A contract; the contract between the Hebrews and their God, Yahweh.
diaspora    The dispersion of Jews beyond Israel, particularly to Persia Egypt and the Mediterranean region.
Essenes    A semimonastic Jewish reclusive group that flourished from about 150 B.C.E. to 68 C.E.
Hanukkah    An early-winter festival recalling the rededication of the Second Temple, celebrated with the lighting of the candles for eight days.
Holocaust    The destruction of European Judaism by the Naziz; also known as Shoah (Hebrew: 'extermination').
Kabbalah    'Received,' 'handed down'; the whole body of Jewish mystical literature.
Kethuvim    'Writings'; the third section of the Hebrew scriptures, consisting primarily of poetry, proverbs, and literary works.
Kosher    'Ritually correct'; said particularly about food consumption and food preparation.
menorah    A candelabrum usually containing seven-and occasionally nine-branches used for religious celebrations.
Messiah    A savior figure to be sent by God, awaited by the Jews.
midrash    'Search'; rabbinical commentary on the scriptures and oral law.
Nevi'im    'Prophets'; the second section of the Hebrew scriptures, made up of historical and prophetic books.
Orthodox    The most traditional branch of Judaism.
Passover    A joyful spring festival that recalls the Hebrews' exodus from Egypt and freedom from oppression.
Pharisees    A faction during the Second-Temple period that emphasized the observation of biblicalrules.
prophet    A person inspired by God to speak for him.
Purim    Joyous festival in early spring that recalls the Jews' being saved from destruction, as told in the book of Esther.
rabbi    A religious teacher; a Jewish minister.
rabbinical Judaism    The Judaism that developed after the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.).
Reconstructionism    A modern liberal branch of the Judaism that emphasizes the cultural aspects of Judaism.
Reform    A modernizing movement and a liberal branch of Judaism.
Rosh Hashanah    'Beginning of the year'; the celebration of the Jewish New Year, occurring on the seventh lunar month.
Sabbath    'Rest'; the seventh day of the week (Saturday), a day of prayer and rest from work.
Sadducees    A priestly faction, influential during the Second-Temple period.
Seder    'Order'; a special ritual meal at Passover, recalling the Hebrews' exodus from Egypt.
Sephardim    Jews of Spain, Morocco and, the Mediterranean region.
sukkot    'Booths'; a festival in the late autumn that recalls the Jews' period of wandering in the desert after their exodus from Egypt.
talit    A prayer shawl worn by devout males.
Talmud    An encyclopedic commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures.
Tanakh    The complete Hebrew scriptures, made up of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings.
tefillin    Phylacteries; two small boxes containing biblical passages that are worn by Orthodox males on the heads and left arm at morning prayer during the week.
theophany    A revelation or appearance of a God.
Torah    'Teaching,' 'instruction'; the first five books of the Hebrew scriptures; also the additional instructions of God, believed by many to have been transmitted orally from Moses through a succession of teachers and rabbis.
Western Wall    The foundation stones of the western wall of the last temple of Jerusalem, today a place of prayer.
yarmulke    The skullcap worn by devout males.
Yom Kippur    Day of Atonement.
Zealots    An anti-Roman, nationalistic Jewish faction, active during the Roman period of control over Israel.
Zionism    The movement that has encouraged the creation and support of the nation of Israel.