Haddas Myrtle -- One of the Four Species used in the ceremonial celebration of Sukkoth. see article on Sukkot.

Halakhah -- (lit. "walk") A general term for the proscriptive material in the Talmud. (ie., the parts that tell you what to do as opposed to the story parts). See also Aggadah.

Hallah -- A special sweet, braided braid served in pairs of loaves and traditional for the Sabbath. Haman -- the villain in the story of Esther, who plotted the extermination of the Jewish people.

Hamantashen -- A traditional three-cornered pastry associated with Purim. Sometimes called "Haman's Hats." In Israel, they are called "Ozney Haman," or "Haman's Ears!"

Hamas -- Terrorist group founded in 1987 as an outgrowth of the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Principal political rival Arafat's Fatah (PLO) organization. Has tens of thousands of Palestinian supporters and sympathizers, but number of hard-core terrorists is unknown.

Hanukkah -- An eight-day holiday commemorating the rededication of the Jewish Temple. See article

Har ha-Bayit -- Hebrew for Hill of the House, i.e, the Temple Mount.

Haroset -- One of the dishes featured in the Passover Seder, typically made wiith apples and nuts, sometimes said to represent the mortar used by the Jewish slaves in Egypt. 

HaShem -- "The Name"; Hebrew alternative for the divine name.

Hasidism -- Mystical movement in Judaism originating in the Middle Ages.

Hebrew -- 1) The ancient language of the Jewish people, and the modern language of the State of Israel. 2) An Israelite

Hebrews -- A book of the Brit ha-Hadashah, addressed to Jewish believers in Yeshua.

Hezbollah -- An umbrella organization of various radical Shiite groups, formed following the 1982 Peace for Galilee War conducted under Ariel Sharon to force the PLO, a terrorist organization, from Lebanon. The war succeeded only in part. On Israel's departure from Lebanon (under foreign pressure), they maintained, at the request of the south Lebanese, a buffer zone south of the Litani River in Lebanon to protect the panhandle of Israel and the civilian population living there. That buffer zone is still patrolled by the Israeli army and the South Lebanese forces, loyal to Israel. Roadside bombs and other attacks are conducted against the Israeli and South Lebanese forces in this zone.

Holocaust -- (from the Greek term for a burnt offering). The systematic Nazi destruction of European Jewry which began in 1933 when Adolph Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. This tragic event reduced the world's Jewish population by over one third.


Inquisition -- A tribunal once set up by the Roman Catholic Church, intended to weed out heresy from the realms of Christendom. Many Jews lost their homes and livelihoods in this age of intolerance, as did many gentiles who did not confess to the official doctrines of the established Church..

Isaiah 53 -- A chapter of the Hebrew Bible which many think refers to the Messiah in general and many to Yeshua in particular. Click here to view it on-line in Hebrew and English.


Jerusalem -- Hebrew Yerushalayim. The capital of Israel since it was taken from the Jebusites by King David (2 Samuel 5:6-10)

Jesus -- The name of a first century Jew of the Second Temple Period known more fully as Yeshua benYosef ha-Notzri, the adopted son of a carpenter from Nazareth, hailed by his followers as the promised Jewish Messiah and Savior of the World. (NOTE: The name Yeshua, when converted to Greek, which was the lingua franca of the times, comes out IESOUS (Yay-soos). In Latin spelling that would be Iesus or Jesus (still pronounced (Yay-soos). The Latin spelling has been retained in most Western European languages using the Latin alphabet, although pronunciation varies according to idiosyncrasies of each language, especially with regard to the phonetic value of the letter "J" -- "dzh" in English, "zh" in French, "h" in Spanish and "y" in German! (See article Who is Yeshua/Jesus, also New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)

Jew -- from Greek Ioudaios, someone from Judea or "Judah." Later used of anyone descended from Israel. In modern usage, according to halakhah, one is a Jew if one has Jewish parents (at least a Jewish mother), or has undergone conversion in accordance with Jewish law.

Josephus, Flavius -- First century Jewish historian. One of the principal extra-biblical historical sources of information on the Second Temple / New Testament period. See article Josephus.

Judah -- Hebrew Yehudah. 1) One of the 12 patriarchs (sons of Israel). 2) The tribe descended from him 3) That tribe's allotment in the promised land.4) After the political division of the country following Solomon's reign, the Southern Kingdom, consisting of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah.

Judaism -- The religious system of the Jewish people, centered on the belief in One God and his Covenant with the Jewish people as described in the Torah.. See also Tanakh, Talmud


Kehilah -- Community or Congregation. Synagogues and Messianic churches are often called kehilot (plural of kehilah).

Kibbutz -- A (usually) rural community in Israel based on communal property, in which members have no private property but share the work and the profits of some collective enterprise, typically agricultural but sometimes also industrial.

Kippah -- Hebrew name for the yarmulke, or skull cap worn by observant Jewish males.

 Kitel -- Special white garment worn on special occasions such as Pesach or Yom Kippur, reminiscent of the garment the priest would have worn in Temple times

Kol Nidre -- Hebrew prayer meaning "all vows" which ushers in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.


Latkes -- potato pancakes traditional at Hanukkah, often served with applesauce or sour cream.

Lord's Day -- The first day of the week (Sunday), as the day the Lord Yeshua was raised from the Dead. Celebrated as a day of worship by most Christians since early times.

Lulav--The palm branch, one of the Four Species used in the ceremonial celebration of Sukkot. see article on Sukkot.


Magen David -- Literally "shield of David," the Hebrew name for the familiar six-pointed star which has become a universal sign of Judaism. Featured on the modern Israeli flag.

Matzah, matzoh -- Flat, unleavened bread used during the Passover. One of the elements of the Seder.

May Laws -- Legislation enacted in Russia, May 1882, prohibiting the Jewish people from living in or acquiring property except in predetermined locales. Repealed in effect in 1915, and legally in 1917 after the Russian revolution. The May Laws caused local expulsions and intolerable overcrowding and economic hardship, leading to massive Jewish emigration.

Meshumad -- Literally "one deserving of extinction." A traitor to Judaism, a heretic.

Messiah -- The long-awaited deliverer of the Jewish people, as foretold by the Hebrew prophets. Jewish people who believe Yeshua to be the Messiah sometimes use this term to describe their particular kind of faith. It is the etymological equivalent of the word Christian, which is derived from Christos the word used by ancient Greek-speaking Jews for messiah.

Messianic Age -- A time of peace and prosperity as foretold by the Hebrew prophets. Traditional thinking is that Messiah will bring this about. Reform Judaism hold this to be an ideal to be reached through human endeavor, and does not expect a personal Messiah at all. We who believe in him believe that Yeshua ha-Mashiach will usher in the Messianic Age when he returns (see Millennium).

Mezuzah -- A small, elongated decorative box, usually of metal or ceramic attached to the doorframe of a Jewish home. Inside the mezuzah is a tiny handwritten scroll on which are written Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21. Both of these passages mention writing the precepts of God on the doorposts. The mezuzah is a way of fulfilling this literally. (See also tefillin).

Millennium -- Literally a period of a thousand years. Also used as common shorthand for "Millennial Reign, " the thousand-year reign of the Messiah, a time of universal peace and prosperity on the earth. (Rev. 20, Isaiah 11, etc.)

Mishnah -- Lit. "Repetition". A compilation of the rabbinical oral laws or traditions. These oral laws were written down by 200 AD. See also Gemara, Talmud


Neilah-- The closing service of Yom Kippur, which ends with a blast of the shofar and the exclamation "Next Year in Jerusalem!"

New Covenant -- The prophet Jeremiah predicted a time when God would make a "New Covenant" with Israel, unlike the first Covenant made at Sinai. See article on Rosh Hashana. New Testament -- a collection of documents composed within the first two or three generations after Yeshua, comprised of the four Gospels (biographies of Yeshua), a history of the early church, several letters from the apostles addressed to various churches and addressing assorted issues of concern, and the book of John's vision of things to come. We believe this new way is the "New Covenant" spoken of by Jeremiah the prophet. (Jeremiah 31:31)

Nicea, Council of -- A council of the early church which convened at Nicea in the year 365, in which (among many other decisions) Christians were prohibited from celebrating the Passover with the Jewish people. (We at Life in Messiah do not consider this particular decision valid!)