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Agunah (pronounced "ahgoonah”) – a divorced person who has not been religiously sanctioned to remarry

Bar mitzvah – Jewish religion's important ceremony, held in a synagogue for a young man who has come of age (at 13) and will now be responsible for practicing and upholding Jewish values, morals, and traditions; female equivalent (at 12 or 13) is a bas mitzvah

Bupkes (also spelled bupkis) – nothing; applied with great emphasis, e.g., "And what do I have? Bupkes!”

Dybbuk (pronounced "dibbuck”) – The soul of a dead person, often looking to possess a live person and as such inspiring fear among the living

Gett – ref., agunah (above); a religiously sanctioned divorce, tandemed with the sanction to remarry

Goy – colloquial term for a person not of the Jewish faith (i.e., a Gentile)

Haftorah – Portions of the Hebrew Bible read aloud in synagogue services, including by a bar mitzvah boy

Hashem – means The Name, and is basic Hebrew term/name used for God

Macher (pronounced "mohhcc-er”) – an achiever, a person of importance/influence

Mazel tov! (pronounced "mozzle-tov!”) – Congratulations!

Mensch (pronounced "mensh”) – someone with strength of character/an applied sense of purpose

Mitzvah – good deed or blessing, though mostly used in an everyday and non-religious context, e.g. "Picking up your groceries while you were stuck in bed with a broken leg – that was a mitzvah your neighbor did.”

Nu? – What's up? What's the story here?

Rabbi (pronounced "rab-eye”) – Ordained Jewish religious scholar/teacher, often relied upon as community leader

Reb – Formal-address equivalent of Mister, as in "Reb Nudell is coming to visit our family;” or, more colloquially, abbreviation of a prominent rabbi, as in "Which Reb is conducting the service today?”

Shabbas (or, shabbos, from Shabbat) – Judaism's Sabbath, from Friday evening through Saturday evening

Shtetl (pronounced "shtet-el”) – a small Jewish village, in bygone times, in Eastern Europe

Shiva – means seven, and also refers to the participatory seven-day mourning period for the recently deceased; e.g., "We are sitting shiva for my wife's uncle, who passed away earlier this week”

Shul – a synagogue and its congregation

Synagogue (pronounced "sinagog”) – a Jewish house of worship

Torah – the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures, transcribed onto a scroll for use in synagogue services including a bar mitzvah


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