Jewish Glossary

Jewish GlossaryJewish Glossary Aleph Bet

Acronyms, abbreviations, and expressions...we use them every day in our written and verbal communications. Unfortunately, it's easy for our messages to get lost in the alphabet soup of acronyms and abbreviations.

To ensure that our congregants understand the various acronyms and abbreviations we commonly use at Barnert, we present to you the Barnert Glossary of Key Terms. A handful of these terms will be highlighted in our bulletin each month. However, the complete list is available below. From time to time, we may add terms to this list. So be sure to check back with us. Happy reading!


ACC: American Conference of Cantors
Organization representing Reform Cantors
AJWS: American Jewish World Service
Prominent Jewish charitable organization supporting a variety of world causes (Darfur), directed by Ruth Messinger.
ARZA: American Reform Zionist Association
The Reform movement's Zionist organization
Biennial, URJ Biennial
The URJ's national convention
CCAR: Central Conference of American Rabbis
Organization representing Reform Rabbis
Consultation on Conscience
Biennial convention of the RAC
The united Jewish community (UJC); in our region, this includes Bergen and Passaic counties. Services include Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Community Center of Washington Township, the YMHA of Wayne, and the United Jewish Appeal
JFS: Jewish Family Service
Federation organization offering multitude of social services
JNF: Jewish National Fund
Raising money for developing the infrastructure of Israel, including forestation, water/reservoir development and basic infrastructure
HUC: Hebrew Union College
Seminary of the Reform movement, with four campuses (Jerusalem, NY, LA and Cincinnati), training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers
IMPJ: Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism
The Reform Jewish organization of Israel
IRAC: Israel Religious Action Center
The social action organization for Reform Judaism in Israel, directed by Anat Hoffman
Israel Bonds
Organization investing in the State of Israel
MUM Dues: "Maintenance of Union Membership"
Dues supporting the URJ
NFTY: North American Federation of Temple Youth
The national Reform youth movement, affiliated with the URJ
NJWHVC: New Jersey West Hudson Valley Council
Our URJ regional council, serving 54 congregations in NJ and the West Hudson Valley of NY; the office is in Washington Township
RAC: Religious Action Center
The social action organization of the URJ, based in Washington, DC
Regional Biennial
The biennial convention of the NJWHVC
UJA: United Jewish Appeal
The fundraising arm of UJC/Federation
UJC: United Jewish Community/Federation
The non-denominational organization serving multitude of regional, national and international Jewish needs, with an emphasis on strong support for Israel
URJ: Union for Reform Judaism
The umbrella organization of the Reform movement, embracing over 900 synagogues in North America. Rabbi Eric Yoffie is the President; Rabbi Dan Freelander is Senior Vice President.
WUPJ: World Union for Progressive Judaism
The international Reform Jewish organization, including IMPJ
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AB: Advisory Board
BarTY: Barnert Temple Youth
Barnert's senior high school youth group, directed by Zachary and Melissa Kolstein
BOT: Board of Trustees
Confirmation Class:
Grade 10
COR: Community Outreach
Barnert's marketing/public relations committee
EC: Executive Committee
Jr. Congregation:
First-Friday-of-the-month Shabbat worship for students in grades 4-6
LLC: Lifelong Learning Committee
The educational arm of our congregation
Grades 8 and 9 ("ma'ayan" means "wellspring")
Mitzvah Mall:
Annual event devoted to teaching the congregation about and raising tzedaka for ten new charitable organizations
Grades 11 and 12
PS: Preschool
RS: Religious School
SA: Social Action
Tot Shabbat:
First-Friday-of-the-month Shabbat worship for pre-readers and their families
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Yiddish word for "aliyah" referring to the honor a wedding couple receives to come up to the Torah for a special blessing on the Shabbat before the wedding

Hebrew word meaning "ascent" referring to the honor of coming up to the bima for an honor related to the Torah ritual. Specifically refers to saying the blessings before and after the reading of the Torah, but can include other Torah honors more generically.

Jewish service (worship, ritual, celebration, life cycle observance); one of the three pillars of Jewish living

Bar/Bat Mitzvah:
Son/daughter of the commandment

Hebrew term for the "stage" in the sanctuary

B'rachah, B'rachot:
Blessing/ blessings

Ceremony of graduation from 10th grade at Barnert Temple

Ceremony celebrating a child's first year of formal Jewish learning

Gemilut Hasadim:
Acts of loving-kindness; one of the three pillars of Jewish living

Commentary on the Talmud
Selection from the books of Prophets, read on Shabbat morning after the Torah

Home-based ceremony marking the close of Shabbat


"Reception", Jewish mysticism

Kabbalat Shabbat:
The beginning of Shabbat worship on Friday evening

Mourner's prayer recited in memory of an immediate family member, or symbolically for a larger "lost" group such as the six million Holocaust victims

Kehillah Kedoshah:
A holy community; term used to describe our aspiration at Barnert

"Writings". Third seciotn of the Jewish Bible, TaNaKh

Prayer over wine
"Return". The High Holiday prayerbook

Megilah (plural, megilot):
A scroll. There are five megillot in the Bible, each corresponding to a Jewish holiday. Song of Songs is read at Passover; Ruth at Shavuot, Lamentations on Tishe B'Av, Ecclesiastes on Sukkot, and Esther on Purim.

An amulet containing the Shema and three Torah paragraphs that is placed on the door entering a jewish home

Rabbinic explanations of difficult or puzzling texts. Midrash is written onTorah, the Bible, the Talmud and later Jewish texts.

Ten people needed to pray certain prayers; colloquially, the group that gathers for shiva at a mourner's home

Mishkan T'filah:
"Sanctuary of Prayer", the new Reform prayerbook for Shabbat, weekdays and Festivals (all holidays except the High Holidays)

The "Oral Law" composed 200CE; the basic text of the Talmud

Commandment; often glossed as "good deed" but refers to any of the 613 rules

Plural for commandment

Teacher (masculine/feminine)

The blessing recited before eating bread (the prefix "Ha-" means "the")

"Prophets", the second section of the Jewish Bible, TaNaKh

"Portion" as in one of the 54 Torah portions read annually

A messenger of God, eg/ Isaiah, Jeremiah

The "order" of the Passover meal, guided by the Haggadah, the Passover prayerbook

Prayers of forgiveness; a ceremony on the Saturday evening before Rosh Hashanah

The Holocaust
Traditionally seven days of mourning immediately following a funeral (sometimes abbreviated to three or less)

"Thirty". The 30 day period of mourning following a funeral, a slight step-down emotionally after shiva.


Several volumes containing the Mishnah and the Gemora, completed around the 5-6th centuries

The Jewish Bible, an acronym for Torah, N'vi'im and Ketuvim

Teshuva (T'shuvah):

"Teaching" The first five books of the Bible: Bereshit/Genesis, Shemot/Exodus, Vayikra/Levitcus, Bamidbar/Numbers, Devarim/Deuteronomy. Torah study is one of the three pillars of Jewish learning

The Jewish mystical commentary on the Torah, composed in the 13th century

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