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42 Cards in this Set

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Angel Dumah

apopular figure in Jewish folklore, often seen as the Angel of Silence (orDeath)


Ark of the Covenant


thecabinet where the Torah scrolls arekept, the Ark of the Covenant usually has a candle or lamp (an “eternal flame”)nearby that symbolizes the biblical commandment to keep a light burning outsidethe curtain surrounding the Ark.


Asmodeus

a demonfrom Jewish folklore


Beadle

caretakerof the synagogue


Chai


“living”;the letters of the word also add up to the numeral “18,” which signifies aspiritual number in Hebrew


Cheder

elementary school teachings of Judaism and the Hebrew language


Dybbuk


demon from Jewish folklore


TheFinal Solution

Germany’s genocidal plan to exterminate allEuropean Jews


G.P.U.


Soviet state police


Gehenna (Yiddish) (Gehinnom) (Hebrew)

a place of spiritual punishmentand/or purification for a period of up to 12 months after death


Gemara


commentaries on the Mishnah


Golem


a commonfigure from Jewish folklore, made of inorganic matter; sometimes signifying afool


Haggadah


religioustext that sets out the order of Seder(see below), and tells the story of Pesach(Passover)


Halakha


thecomplete body of rules and practices that Jews are bound to follow, includingbiblical commandments, commandments instituted by the rabbis, and bindingcustoms


Kaddish (Aramaic:holy)

central prayer of Jewishprayer service, commonly associated with mourning the dead


Kol Nidre

theevening service of Yom Kippur, orthe prayer that begins that service


Kreplach

dumplings,often served on Rosh Hashana


Kristallnacht(in English: The Night of Broken Glass)


1938 pogrom against German and Austrian Jews; oftenunderstood as the beginning of the Holocaust.


Landsleit


natives, compatriots


Lilith (Yiddish)

amythological female demon in Jewish (rabbinical) folklore, appearing usually inthe night, who seduces men and threatens women and babies


Maimonides


medievalJewish philosopher; greatest Torah scholar in history; believed that it isimpossible for the human intellect to contradict G_d


Mezuzah


rolledparchment inscribed with Hebrew prayer verses from the Torah, placed in a caseand affixed to an exterior door


Mezuzah

rolledparchment inscribed with Hebrew prayer verses from the Torah, placed in a caseand affixed to an exterior door


Mikvah (Ritualbath)

bath of spiritualpurification (usually refers to bath taken by women following menstruation, sothat they can purify themselves for sexual intercourse)


Mishnah


the“oral Torah” in written form; most important work in Rabbinic Judaism, from theTalmudic era (200 CE)


Nu

a Yiddish term that Spiegelman’s father uses a lot; meanssomething roughly equivalent to “So?” or“Well?”—usually in response to something that doesn’t make sense or is obvious.

Onkelos:

a famousconvert to Judaism


Pogrom


anorganized massacre or slaughter of a targeted ethnic group; term originatedwith the nineteenth-century slaughter of Russian Jews.


Purim

holiday that commemorates the Jewish people’s escape from extermination inancient Persia; the story of Purim is told in the biblical book of“Esther.” Esther was a member of theharem of Ahasuerus, the King of Persia. The king fell in love with her, not knowing that she was Jewish. Haman, an advisor to the king, advised thatthe Jewish people, who were “different,” should not be tolerated; Ahasuerusgave Haman leave to do with the Jews as he wished. Haman’s plan was to exterminate them. Estherapproached the king in court to expose Haman’s plot and speak on behalf of theJewish people. Ahasuerus spared the Jewsand had Haman and his ten sons hanged on the gallows that had been prepared forMordecai, Esther’s brother. The Book ofEsther is the only book of the Bible that does not mention the name of G_d.


Rabbi

areligious teacher authorized to make decisions on issues of Jewish law;performs many of the same functions as a Protestant minister

Rosh Hashanah


holidayof the Jewish New Year

Seder


ritualfeast to celebrate holiday of Passover; participantsrecite the story of the liberation (and Exodus) of the Israelites from Egyptianslavery, in obeyance to Biblical command: “You shall tell your child on thatday, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out ofEgypt’” (Exodus 13:8)


Shnorrer(Yiddish)


beggar; freeloader


Shoah

anotherterm for the “Holocaust,” during which 6 million Jews and 5 million Gentiles(non-Jews), throughout Germany and German-owned territories, were murdered bythe Nazis. (Interesting side-note, in view of both Singer’s interest in animalsand Spiegelman’s use of animals: “holocaust” derives from the ancient Greekword holokauston, which refers to ananimal sacrifice consumed by fire. Itwas also used, biblically, in 1 Samuel 7:9, to mean “a burnt offering to God.” The implications, in connection with thetexts of both authors, are compelling.


Shofar (Ram’s horn)

musicalinstrument used for religious purposes, most commonly for the High Holy Days ofRosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur


Song of Songs (Songof Solomon)

an allegory God and Israel as husband and wife


Sukkoth (Sukkot)

afestival commemorating the forty-year period during which the Children ofIsrael were wandering in the desert, as well as the final harvest; also knownas the “Feast of Tabernacles” or the “Festival of Ingathering”; begins the 5thday after Yom Kippur, but is ajoyous rather than somber holiday and is sometimes referred to as “the Seasonof our Rejoicing,” as well

Talmud (Mishnah +Gemara)

the central text inJudaism, pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, customs and history


Tishri


theseventh month of the Jewish Year, during which many important holidays occur


Torah


holiestJewish legal and ethical teachings; strictly speaking, the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus,Numbers, and Deuteronomy (sometimes called “The Pentateuch”); in a broadersense, “Torah” refers to the entire body of Jewish teachings


Yeshiva


a learning session for the study ofJewish theology


Yom Kippur


mostimportant holiday of the Jewish year; “Yom Kippur” means “Day of Atonement,” inwhich one atones for the sins committed against God (not for the sins committedagainst another person)