Aleinu- first of the closing prayers of the service

aliyah- honor of being called to bless the Torah

Amidah- central prayer of service, recited silently while standing and then repeated by the shaliach tzibbur

ark- closet-like cabinet in which the Torah scrolls are kept in the synagogue

aron ha-kodesh- ark in which Torah scrolls are kept in the synagogue

Ashkenazic- traditions of Jews originating in Germany and Eastern Europe

Baal/Baalat Korai- Torah reader at public prayer service

Bar/Bat Mitzvah- age of religious majority when one is responsible for fulfilling the mitzvot; this occurs at 13 years and 1 day

Barechu- Call to worship

Beit Midrash- house of study

berachah- blessing

bima- raised platform from which Torah is read and service is led

breastplate- a decoration hanging around the "neck" of the Sefer Torah, reminiscent of the breastplate worn by the High Priest when he ministered in the Temple in Jerusalem

cantor- chazzan; the one who leads the singing and chanting at the prayer service

challah- the portion of bread dough which is burned entirely as a sacrifice to God; today, however, the term is used to refer to a braided loaf of white bread used to celebrate the sabbath

chanukkiah (pl. chanukkiot)- Chanukah menorah with places for 9 candles/lights

chazzan- the one who leads the singing and chanting of the service; cantor

chumash- printed edition of the Torah, often containing translation and commentaries

crown- the tops of the wooden rollers of the Sefer Torah are often decorated either with rimonim or with one metal crown which covers both rollers, symbolizing God's sovereignty

eitz chayim- wooden roller to which the handwritten Sefer Torah is attached

etrog- citrin used on Sukkot. See also Sukkot section.

gabbai (pl. gabbai'im)- one of two people who conduct the Torah reading, standing on either side of the Torah reader

gelilah- the one who rolls the Torah after it is read and dresses it

haftarah- portion from one of the books of the prophets read each Shabbat to compliment the Torah portion

hagbah- the honor of lifting the Torah after it is read to the congregation

hagbahah- the person honored with lifting the Torah after it is read to the congregation

haggadah (pl. haggadot)- book containing the liturgy for the Passover seder

hiddur mitzvah- value is placed on making the fulfillment of a commandment beautiful, hence producing beautiful and artistic ritual objects is valued

High Holy Days- Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and frequently used to refer to the 10-day period between them, as well

kaddish- Aramaic prayer praising God and praying for the coming of God's kingdom on earth; used to separate sections of the service and also recited by mourners in memory of those who have died

kippah- headcovering worn out of respect for God

kosher- that which is permissible to be eaten by biblical and rabbinic standards; most notably this precludes pork products, shellfish, and any combination of meat and milk products

luchot- literally "tables" or "tablets" referring to the Ten Commandments

Ma'ariv- the evening prayer service

machzor (pl. machzorim)- prayerbook used for the High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

mantle- the Sefer Torah is covered with a fabric "tunic" called the mantile to protect it; it is often decorated or inscribed

matzah- unleavened bread eaten on Passover

megillah (pl. megillot)- literally "scroll"; scroll on which the Book of Esther is written which is read on Purim

menorah- lampstand with 7 branches which stood in Temple in Jerusalem; also used to refer to chanukkiah

mezuzah- literally "doorpost"; refers to scroll inscribed with Torah passages which is attached to doorpost of Jewish homes

Minchah- the afternoon prayer service

minhag ha-makom- "custom of the place"; i.e. the local tradition

minyan- quorum of ten adults required for complete public worship service

Mi Shebeirach- "the One who blessed"; prayer recited for those who have an aliyah and read the Torah

mitznefet- head covering worn by High Priest in the Temple in ancient times

mitzvah (pl. mitzvot)- commandment

Musaf- the "additional" prayer service which follows shacharit on Shabbat and festival mornings

ner tamid- eternal light which hangs in front of the ark

omer- literally a sheaf of wheat; the Counting of the Omer refers to the 50-day period between Passover and Shavuot

parashah- literally "portion"; the Torah portion assigned to a particular week or holy day

parochet- curtain in front of the ark which houses the Torah scrolls

Passover- festival commemorating Exodus of Jews from slavery in Egypt in the days of Moses, as told in the blblical Book of Exodus; see Passover

Purim- holiday commemorated the deliverance of the Jews as told in the Book of Esther; see Purim

pushke- box for collecting money to be given to charity

rabbi- teacher and spiritual leader, as well as religious legal decisor for community

rimonim- literally "pomegranates"; decorations on top of wooden rollers of Torah

Rosh Hashanah- the New Year according to the Hebrew calendar

sash- a sash or belt is used to tie the Sefer Torah scroll together when it is not being read because otherwise it would come unrolled

seder- home service held on Passover at which the story of the Exodus from Egypt is retold and reenacted

sedra- weekly Torah portion

Sefer Torah (pl. Sifrei Torah)- handwritten Torah scroll which is kept in the ark and read publicly on Shabbat, holidays, Mondays, and Thursdays

Sephardic- traditions of Jews from Spain, France, North Africa, Arab, and Oriental countries

Shabbat- the day of rest: Saturday (begins Friday at sundown and concludes Saturday after sundown when 3 stars are visible in the sky)

Shacharit- the morning prayer service

shaliach tzibbur- the one who represents the congregation in prayer, leading the prayer service

Shavuot- springtime festival commemorating the revelation of the Torah at Mount Sinai

shofar- ram's horn blown especially on Rosh Hashanah and at the conclusion of Yom Kippur

siddur (pl. siddurim)- prayerbook for Shabbat, weekdays, and festivals, or some combination of the above

Simchat Torah- holiday marking the end and beginning of the cycle of reading of the Torah

shammas- literally "servant"; refers either to the 9th candle in the chanukkiah which is used to light the other 8 candles, or to one who serves as the custodian of the synagogue

sukkah- temporary hut built for the festival of Sukkot in which one eats and lives, as much as possible, for the week of the festival each autumn

Sukkot- autumn festival marking the harvest season and commemorating the wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness for 40 years following the Exodus from Egypt

tallit- prayershawl with tzitzit at the corners. See Tallit.

Talmud- compendium of rabbinic literature which constitutes the backbone of Jewish tradition as it is practiced today

tikkun- printed edition of the Torah which has vocalized and pointed text in one column, and a photographic representation of a Sefer Torah next to it, used to learn to chant Torah

Torah- the Five Books of Moses; see Holy Books

trop- system of cantillation marks and their music, which are used to chant sacred books; there are trop systems for Torah, haftarah, Lamentations, and the megillot.

tzedakah- literally "righteousness"; refers to money given to charity

tzitzit- the special fringes on the corner of the tallit; see also Tallit

yad- pointer used to keep one's place while reading Torah

yarmulke- head covering worn out of respect for God; kippah

Yom Kippur- Day of Atonement which comes 10 days after Rosh Hashanah