Terms you often hear

Aliyah

Blessing said before and after the Torah reading.  Receiving an Aliyah is considered a great honor.

A Torah reading is also referred to as an Aliyah.

Ark

The Torah is kept in a special cabinet called an Ark.  The Congregation rises anytime  the Ark is opened or closed.

Baby Naming or Brit Bat

A Baby Naming celebration is a relatively new ceremony to welcome a new daughter into the covenant. It may consist of a communal welcoming, a naming done over a cup of wine with the quotation of appropriate Biblical verses, and blessings.

Bimah

The central area where a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, wedding or any other ceremony may take place.  It is often a raised structure.

Breaking of the Glass

This custom, the very last of the wedding ceremony has taken on many meanings and lore over the years.  The act serves as an expression of sadness for the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.  It is also said, that each shards of shattered glass will represent a year of happiness in the union of the couple.

Brit Milah (Bris)

Brit Milah, Bris or circumcision may be performed in any location.  A person trained to do this rite is called a mohel.  Blessings and prayers are recited as the child is welcomed into the covenant.  It is as this time that a baby boy receives his name for the first time.

Chuppah

A wedding ceremony takes place under the Chuppah, a canopy, which is a symbol of the home to be built and shared by the happy couple!

Ketubah

The marriage contract!  The responsibilities and obligations of the bride and groom are detailed in this document.  It is signed by two witnesses and is a legal binding document.  It is often expressed in beautiful artwork and framed and displayed. 

Kippah

Kippah is a head covering worn to show reverence to God.  Observant Jews wear a Kippah all day long.  You might even hear the Yiddish work, yarmulkah, used to refer to a Kippah

Kippah

Tallit

A prayer shawl with fringes attached at the corners as reminders of G0d’s 613 commandments.

Torah

The Torah or ‘teaching’ is the history of God’s relationship with the people of Israel.  Known as the Five Books of Moses, the Pentateuch or the Old Testament, the Torah is divided into the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.