Glossary

Ashkenaz
(Ashkenazi) Rabbinical term from the Middle Ages for central Europe and Germany and the Jews living there.
Chevra kadisha
(Hevra kadishah) “Holy Union“, a funeral brotherhood that take care of the washing of the dead and the burials.
Disapora
Bezeichnung für die „Zerstreuung“ der Juden in der Welt. Auch unter den Begriffen Exil bzw. Galut bekannt. Mit dem Exil 597 v.d.Z. begann die Diaspora.
Ghetto
Residential area or street, assigned to Jews as residential area. The ghettos of the Middle Ages, despite the forced relocation of the Jews to a demarcated residential area were of a completely different kind than those that were set up by the German occupation in 1939 in e.g. Poland, Czech Republic and the Baltic states.
Halakha
System of religious-legal regulations, of laws and commands that are contained in the written and oral versions of the Torah. They clarify the purpose in life in Orthodox Judaism.
Kehilla
Community. Together, Speyer, Worms, and Mainz were the Kehillot SchUM.
Machzor
(=cycle) Book containing all the repetitive prayers for the High Holidays.
Mikveh
(plural: Mikvaot), Jewish ritual baths.
Piyyut
(or piyut) - (Liturgical) poem, in a worship service either recited or sung according to a melody.
Pogrom
From the Russian language, describes waste and destruction. There were pogroms against Jewish people already in the Middle Ages, infamous is the Pogrom from November 1938, when the synagogues in the former ShUM-cities were set on fire. The only remaining synagogue from the Middle Ages, the one in Worms, was destroyed.
Responsa
Term for questions directed to the rabbi authority and the answers given. Finally a body of written decisions and rulings given by legal scholars.
Sepharad
(Sephardim) Jews from Spain and Portugal, that settled in the Netherlands, Greece, North Africa, and Turkey following expulsion in 1492 and 1513.
Shoah
Term for the murder of some six million Jews in Europe between 1933 and 1945.
Talmud
Teachings. The writings consist of two works, the Mishna and the Gemara. There are the Babylonian and the Jerusalem Talmud. Contained in these are instructions for how the rules in the Torah in practice and in daily life from different scholars – also from Rashi – were understood and interpreted.
Torah
Teachings, rule/law. Term for the first and most important main part of the Hebrew Bible, the five Books of Moses (Pentateuch)
Yiddish
Language with Hebrew and Slavic elements that emerged out of the Middle High German during the High Middle Ages. Following the emancipation in the 19th century it was hardly spoken in Germany, but rather in Middle/Central and Eastern Europe.