Oral Law -- Other instruction beyond the written Torah, which is nevertheless considered by some Jewish people as the Word of God.


PA -- The Palestinian Authority

Palestine -- A name given to Eretz Israel after the conquest of Judea in 70 AD. It is derived from the word "Philistines," a people who had occupied the coastal areas of the land in ancient times, but who had long since passed from history.

Passover -- The celebration on the 15th of Nisan of the liberation of the Jewish people from their bondage in Egypt as described in the book of Exodus. For a discussion of Passover customs as seen from a Messianic perspective, see Messiah in the Passover.

Pesach -- Hebrew for "Passover."

Phylacteries -- See Tefillin.

Pilgrim Festivals -- The three feasts of Israel which required a pilgrimage to Jerusalem by all who were able. These are Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

Pogroms -- Organized massacres of Jewish communities carried out in 19th century Russia.

Premillennialism -- The view within Christianity that the Rapture of the Church will occur before the Millennium.

Purim -- The Jewish holiday observed each year on the 14th of Adar, celebrating the deliverance of the Jewish people from the wicked Haman in the days of Queen Esther of Persia, as described in the book of Esther. (Esther 9:18-28) See article.


Qohelet -- A book of wisdom literature in the Hebrew Bible, known in English as Ecclesiastes.

Quiet Time -- A term used among evangelicals to denote a time set aside for personal meditation and communion with God.


Rapture -- The supernatural "catching up" of all believers into the air to meet Yeshua/Jesus, as alluded to in First and Second Thessalonians, especially 1 Thess. 4:17. See Rosh Hashana article.

Reform Judaism -- One of the three major branches of Judaism, and the most liberal.

Romans 11 -- A Chapter of the New Testament written by the apostle Paul, in which he upholds the continuing importance of the Jewish people in God's plan for the universe.

Rosh Hashana -- Jewish New Year, celebrated on the First of Tishri (September/October), the same as what the Bible calls "the Feast of Trumpets" (Lev. 23:23-25, Num. 29:1-6). See article.


Sabbath -- The seventh day of the week, holy to the Jewish people by the commandment of God. (Exodus 20:8-11, Deuteronomy 5:12-15)

Savior -- Another title for the Messiah as the one who saves men's souls.

Seder -- Hebrew for "order" A ceremonial meal eaten at Passover.

Sephardic -- (From the ancient Biblical name "Sepharad", which came to be associated with Spain.) Pertaining to Jews whose ancestors came from Spain and Portugal before the expulsion of the Jews from those lands in 1492/7.

Shabbat -- Hebrew for "Sabbath."

Shabbes / Shabbos -- Yiddish for "Sabbath"

Shalom -- Hebrew. Peace, Hello, and Goodbye.

Shavuot -- One of the three Pilgrim Festivals required in the Torah. Also known as The Feast of Weeks and Pentecost, celebrated seven weeks after Passover.

Shoah -- The Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

Shofar -- A ram's horn. The rams horn makes a very impressive noise, and has been used since ancient times to summon troops to battle or the people to assemble. Also used to mark approach of Sabbath and other Holy Days. Especially associated with Rosh Hashana.

Shul -- Yiddish for "synagogue"

Sufganiyot -- Israeli jelly doughnuts eaten at Hanukkah.

Sukkah-- A "booth" or shelter made for the holiday of Sukkoth.

Sukkot -- Lit. "booths." One of the three Pilgrim Festivals marked by the building of makeshift shelters called "sukkot" to commemorate the wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land.

Svivon-- The Hebrew name for dreidl.

Synagogue -- A meeting place of the Jewish people, from a Greek word meaning "lead together".


Tabernacle -- From Latin tabernaculum, "tent." The word used in many English translations of the Torah for the Tent of Meeting,the portable forerunner of the Temple which God commanded Moses to build when the Israelites were wandering in the Wilderness. This word is also used for sukkah, a temporary structure built yearly for the holiday of Sukkoth, which is therefore also called The Feast of Tabernacles.

Tallt, or "Talis"-- The prayer shawl worn by Jewish males during prayer and in synagogue.

Talmud -- The Mishnah and Gemara taken together.

Tanakh -- The Jewish Scriptures, which are exactly the same canon as the Protestant "Old Testament". The Hebrew term is an acronym derived from the Hebrew words Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim; i.e., The Law, The Prophets and the Writings (poetry and wisdom literature) (Compare the New Testament term, "the Law and the Prophets" to stand for the Scriptures as a whole)

Tashlikh -- A Rosh Hashana service in which observant Jews go to a body of water such as a stream or an ocean, and toss the contents of their pockets into it while reciting passages such as Micah 7:19, ("And thou wilt cast (Tashlikh) all their sins into the depths of the sea.") as a symbol of sin being swallowed up in forgiveness. See Rosh Hashana article.

Tefillin -- Small boxes containing verses of Scripture which religious Jewish males bind to the wrist and forehead by means of leather straps, in obedience to Ex. 13:9, 16 and Deut. 6:8, 11:18

Temple -- The holy place of worship in Jerusalem which replaced Moses Wilderness Tabernacle on land purchased for it by King David, and originally built by Solomon. In Reform Judaism, this word can also mean synagogue.

Temple Mount -- The artificially expanded hill in Jerusalem on which the First and second temples stood, now occupied by the Muslim Dome of the Rock.

Tish'a b'Av -- Or the "Ninth of Av". A Jewish holy day commemorating the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon. (Zech. 7:5, 8:19) According to tradition, it was on this same date in 70 AD that the Romans under Titus destroyed the Second Temple. Many other national disasters have been associated with this date, including the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust, and so Tish'a b'Av has come to stand for national calamity in general. See article.

Torah -- The Pentateuch. The first five books of the Bible. Literally "teaching" or "instruction" or "guidance." Often translated "the Law" in English Bibles, as in "the Law of the LORD is perfect" (Psalm 19:7 [verse 8 in Hebrew]) Torah Codes Alleged messages hidden in Hebrew text of the Torah. see article

Tu Bi-Shevat -- A minor Jewish holiday marking the blossoming of the first trees and the beginning of Spring. Also known as Hag ha-Ilanot, or "New Year of the Trees" More.

Tzimmes - One of the elements of the Passover Seder. See sample Recipe.

Tzitzit -- The fringe on a tallit, based on the Torah passages of Num. 15:37-41 and Deut. 22:12.




Wailing Wall -- See Western Wall

Western Wall -- A portion of the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount, regarded by the Jewish people as a holy place owing to its proximity to the site of the Holy of Holies on the platform above it.


Xenophobia -- The irrational fear of strangers or of persons different from oneself. One of the roots of Anti-Semitism.


Yarmulke -- A Yiddish word for the skull-cap worn by observant Jewish males. See also kippah.

Yeshiva -- An academy for study of the Talmud.

Yeshua -- From the Hebrew word for "salvation." Jesus' original Hebrew name. See Article.

Yeshua ha-Mashiach -- Hebrew for "Yeshua the Messiah"

Yiddish -- A Germanic dialect written with Hebrew characters and the language of the shtetl and other Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe.

Yiddishkeit -- Roughly translated, "Jewish-hood," i.e., everything that goes into being Jewish, from music to food to berakhot.

Yom Ha'Atzmaut -- Israeli Independence Day.

Yom Kippur -- The Day of Atonement. The holiest and most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. In temple times, this was the day the High Priest would approach the throne of God in the Holy of Holies to seek atonement for the sins of the people. Marked by fasting and abstinence from marital relations and use of cosmetics and toiletries. See Article


Zion -- Originally another name for Mt. Moriah, the hill just north of David's Jerusalem which he purchased from Araunah the Jebusite as the site for the first Temple as built by Solomon. By extension, the name is used of Jerusalem, and by further extension, the Land of Israel.

Zionism -- The movement to restore the Jewish people to a sovereign homeland of their own.