“Son of the Commandment” or “Son of Duty”. Boys are seen as mature enough to take responsibility for their religious life when they are thirteen. From then on they are responsible for keeping the commandments. The ceremony marking this event is called Bar Mitzvah. Traditionally, boys are called up to read from the Torah in the synagogue the week after their thirteenth birthday. Bar Mitzvahs are often celebrated with a party. The corresponding age for girls is twelve.
“Daughter of the Commandment” or ”Daughter of Duty”. At the age of twelve, girls are seen as mature enough to take responsibility for their religious life. From then on it is their responsibility to keep the commandments. The ceremony marking this transition is called Bat Mitzvah. In the Copenhagen synagogue, a little ceremony is held in which the girl speaks before the congregation after the Sabbath service on Saturday afternoon. In liberal communities, the girls are called up to read from the Torah scrolls. Bat Mitzvahs are often celebrated with a party. The corresponding age for boys is thirteen.
Circumcision. According to Genesis 17:12, Jewish boys must be circumcised when they are eight years old. This commandment is given great importance in Judaism. Circumcision is seen as a symbol of the covenant between Abraham and God, and thus between God and the Jewish people. This sign of the covenant can be seen as an identity marker holding the individual to his Jewish identity.
“The General Jewish Labour Union of Lithuania, Poland and Russia” or “Algemeyner Yidisher Arbeter Bund in Lite, Poyln un Rusland”: a Jewish socialist party founded in 1897 in Vilna. In 1898, the party was incorporated into the Russian Social Democrat Party. Bund was characterised by dedication to Yiddish language, Jewish autonomy and secular Judaism specifically in Eastern Europe and thus not to worldwide Jewish national movement.
Bread eaten on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays except for Pesach. The bread contains eggs. It is often strewn with sesame or poppy seeds and is usually braided. Challah also refers to the little portion of dough that is taken out before baking in memory of the erstwhile sacrifices in the temple.
The Festival of Lights in December commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek regime in 164 BCE. One legend says that the Jews only found a small amount of holy oil when they wanted to re-consecrate the desecrated temple in Jerusalem, but that the oil miraculously lasted for eight days, until new provisions could be got. Therefore, a candle is lit for eight days in a special candelabra.
Nine-pronged candelabra used at Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. On each of the festival’s eight days, one additional candle is lit compared to the preceding day – first one, then two, etc. The ninth candle is used to light the others.
Wedding canopy. The couple is wedded below a canopy consisting of a piece of cloth or, in some cases, a prayer shawl tied to four rods. The bride groom stands under the chuppah with the couple’s parents, the rabbi and in some cases a cantor. The bride is led to him accompanied by singing. The chuppah symbolises the shared space and the home they will now create together.
A culture which is continued in a new country under different conditions. The word originally means “dispersal” and comes from Greek. Jewish culture comes from the Near East, but for more than 2000 years it has been a Diaspora culture that has spread to all the continents of the world.
Legend or narrative. The part of rabbinical literature that is not Halakhah. For a large part, this is an expansion of the narrative, historical and ethical rules of the Bible. Haggadah is also a book containing the tale of the exodus from Egypt as well as blessings, prayers, commentaries and psalms recited at the seder ritual for pesach.
The Jewish rules of living. The Hebrew word means “the way”, and halakhah includes both the religious and the social aspect of life, such as rules for how to celebrate the Sabbath and how to get divorced.
The Jewish Enlightenment, beginning in the 1770s, Haskalah was rooted in the European Enlightenment but developed within a Jewish context with the purpose of embibing Jewish culture with new energy and vitality and access to the new values of modern society. Secularisation, integration and emancipation are among the key concepts. ough seriousness, prayer and Torah study, but also through dance, singing and joy.
From the Hebrew word hasid meaning “righteous”. A mystical Jewish movement originating in the second half of the eighteenth century in Poland-Lithuania. Ecstasy, mass enthusiasm, strong group relations and charismatic leadership are among the characteristics of this movement. The relationship with God is expressed not only through seriousness, prayer and Torah study, but also through dance, singing and joy.
Jødisk sprog, som er baseret på middelaldertysk blandet med hebraisk og slaviske ord. Da mange jøder i 1500-tallet flyttede østpå fra Centraleuropa tog de sproget med sig, og indtil Holocaust blomstrede den jiddisch-sprogede kultur især i Rusland, Polen, Ungarn og Rumænien. Både i Østeuropa og i Amerika har blev der i 1900-tallet udgivet en stor mængde aviser, tidsskrifter og bøger på jiddisch. De fleste jiddisch-talende jøder døde i Holocaust, og selvom jødiske samfund i blandt andet Argentina og USA gør meget for at bevare sproget, er det kun i mindre grad talesprog i dag.
Forsoningsdagen, 10 dage efter Rosh Hashana. Perioden fra Rosh Hashana til og med Jom Kippur er præget af eftertanke og ses traditionelt som den tid på året, hvor Gud sidder til doms over verden. Mange faster i et helt døgn og opholder sig det meste af tiden i synagogen på Jom Kippur.
Jewish mystical tradition that exerted great influence on Jewish intellectual and spiritual life from around the twelfth century. Kabbalists from many countries met in the sixteenth century in Safed in Israel, which developed into a spiritual centre. According to Kabbalist tradition, God is not static but moves toward completion, and without human participation God remains incomplete. Kabbalists seek to reach the core of the messages of the Bible and other sacred texts, striving for divine completion through asceticism, fasting, meditation or ecstatic techniques. Since the renaissance, Kabbalah has inspired Western thinkers, especially Christians, and has influenced, among others, the Free Masons and neo-religious movements. Today there is also a non-Jewish, post-modern version of Kabbalah whose adherents include the popstar Madonna. ough seriousness, prayer and Torah study, but also through dance, singing and joy.
The lead singer in the synagogue, who leads the service. Everyone from the congregation can stand forward and take the role of cantor. This will typically be a man with a beautiful voice and experience. The service takes place independently of the rabbi, who can participate in it as a preacher.
Fit for eating according to the Jewish rules of living. Jewish dietary laws do not allow meat from animals such as pigs and horses, shellfish, molluscs and certain fish such as eels, sharks and turbot. Mammals and poultry must be slaughtered by slitting the throat in a special way, and the blood must be drained. Meat and milk products must not be eaten together, and kosher kitchens therefore have two separate parts. Vegetables, eggs and fish are neutral, and can be mixed with both meat and milk – they are so-called “parev”. Orthodox Jews only eat food produced under Rabbinical supervision. Most modern Jews have their own interpretation of what is kosher, or they don’t comply with tradition. The word can also be used in the figurative sense to mean “ok”.
Unleavened bread ate at seder. The dough is made of wheat and flour without yeast and is baked as flat, perforated squares. From the dough is mixed to the bread is baked, no more than 18 minutes may pass, according to tradition. Matzah commemorates how the Israelites left Egypt “in great haste” without time to let the bread rise.
A small case on the doorpost, containing verses from the Bible. A mezuzah is always placed on the right doorpost, and is a literal compliance with Moses' words to the Israelites: "I command you today to write these words on your doorposts." s left Egypt “in great haste” without time to let the bread rise.
A good deed or a duty. In traditional Jewish thought, a mitzvah is especially a religious obligation, while the word in its figurative sense signifies an act of compassion. Daniel Libeskind selected the word as the overall concept for the shaping of the Danish Jewish Museum because the Danish effort to save the Jews from the Nazi Endlösung stands as an example of “the good deed” as a universal obligation. time to let the bread rise.
Someone who follows tradition to its fullest extent. Orthodox Jews believe that all parts of Jewish law, Halakhah, are binding, and lay great weight on religious life. Today, approximately 10% of the world’s Jews are orthodox. the good deed” as a universal obligation. time to let the bread rise. Photo: a Tefillin.
Jewish spring feast to commemorate the exit from Egypt under Moses. At dinner, the story is told in a way that appeals to children. Throughout the eight days of the feast, no leavened bread or food made with normal corn types are eaten. time to let the bread rise.
Residence permit for Jews in pre-modern society. Until modern times, Jews did not enjoy the right to settle in European countries unless they had received a privilege from those in power. In 1814, all Danish Jews were given citizens’ rights, which were later confirmed in the constitution of 1849. ood made with normal corn types are eaten. time to let the bread rise.
A feast to commemorate the rescue of the Persian Jews. The Book of Esther from the Bible tells the story of how the evil Haman conspired against the Jews, who were saved by the Jewish Queen Esther. The book is read aloud, and the celebrations are often licentious, with a carnival, fun and games and large amounts of alcohol. aten. time to let the bread rise.
Jewish scriptural expert who can advise in questions of religious law and Jewish tradition. The rabbis are first and foremost jurisprudents and religious leaders, but have on many occasions taken the role of community leaders and intellectuals. Rabbi training takes place in a special religious academy
The seventh day of the Jewish week; a day for rest, togetherness and reflection. The Sabbath goes in at sunset on Friday evening. At this time it is customary to light at least two candles and eat special Sabbath food. On this day, orthodox Jews avoid many different activities – work, cooking, transportation and using electricity. At the synagogue service on Saturday morning, the week’s Torah excerpt is read. Especially Friday evening is an important time for non-religious Jews to meet and be together with their families. The Sabbath goes out on Saturday evening at the onset of darkness. It is customary to take leave of the Sabbath with a special ritual, the Havdalah.
Ceremony held at home during Pesach in the springtime to commemorate the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. A number of ritual dishes – a bone from a lamb, green herbs, bitter herbs, salted water and fruit pulp looking like clay – are used to tell the story. Unleavened bread is also eaten: flat and hard wheat bread baked without yeast. The old legend about the transition from slavery to freedom is related through songs, texts and games. Seder is still a common ritual among religious as well as secular Jews.
A Jewish culture with its roots in Spain and Portugal. In the Middle Ages Spain and Portugal was a part of the Arab caliphate and here Jewish culture developed in close connection with the Spanish-Arabic culture. This Jewish culture is known as the Sephardic, after the traditional Jewish name for Spain, Sepharad. When Spain became part of the Christian Europe, the Sephardic and the Ashkenazic Jews came in closer contact with each other, but the two groups have kept their individual culture.
The Feast of Booths. To commemorate the desert wandering under Moses, small huts with roofs of loose foliage are erected and used for taking meals. The huts symbolise the solicitude of God. Sukkot is also a harvest feast, and plants and fruits are used in the rituals. On the last day of Sukkot, the year’s reading of the Torah, the Five Books of Moses, is completed in the synagogue, and the Torah is celebrated with a joyous party in which the Torah scrolls are paraded and people dance and sing in its honour.
The main work of rabbinical Judaism, completed around 600 CE. The Talmud contains many discussions of laws and ideas. The structure is open and digressive. The Talmud is always printed together with various commentaries to its texts, so that the Talmud’s own text is in the centre of the page, surrounded by commentary.
Day of mourning to commemorate the destruction of the Temple in 586 BCE by the Assyrians and again in 70 CE by the Romans. Religious Jews fast all day and all night and mourn as one would mourn a dead relative, for example by sitting on the floor and not saluting other people.
The Five Books of Moses are written on parchment scrolls in square Hebrew script. The scrolls are read aloud in Hebrew to a certain tune during the Sabbath service. Every week has its own passage, so the congregation gets through all five Books of Moses in a year. When it is not in use, the Torah scroll is stored in a fabric casing and is often decorated with silver shields and silver crowns.
Jewish language based on medieval German mixed with Hebrew and Slavic words. When many Jews moved eastwards from Central Europe in the sixteenth century, they took the language with them, and until the Holocaust, the Yiddish culture flowered in especially Russia, Poland, Hungary and Romania. In Eastern Europe and America, many newspapers, periodicals and books were published in Yiddish. Most Yiddish-speaking Jews died in the Holocaust, and although the Jewish communities in Argentina, the US and other places do a great deal to preserve the language, it is not spoken much today.
The Day of Atonement, ten days after Rosh Hashanah. The period from Rosh Hashanah to and including Yom Kippur is one of reflection, and according to tradition it is the time of year when God judges the world. Many people fast for 24 hours and stay most of the time in the synagogue on Yom Kippur.