Jewish Words

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Dictionary of Jewish Words” by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic

These reliable references both emanate from reputable sources, one from the Jewish Publication Society and the other from the late Rosten, a prolific, best-selling author, professor, scholar, and language expert. Similar in content and format but with a differing emphasis and flavor, these books have considerable overlap.

The JPS Dictionary aims to identify Jewish words and terms, derived from Yiddish, Hebrew, Aramaic, and English, that are most commonly used in U.S. daily life. Not intended to be either all-inclusive or definitive, this handy, accessible work will serve the needs of a variety of users.

Arranged alphabetically, it features more than 1000 definitions using simple language and including parts of speech, pronunciation guides, one or more meanings, and cross references. Communalities are identified in the category index. The words included pertain to Jewish holidays and life-cycle events, culture, history, the Bible and other sacred texts, worship, and more. Because stress is placed on understanding Jewish traditions, this work is slightly broader in scope, covering individuals and other terms recognized by the authors as being contemporary and/or having special meaning. (Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Oy gevalt, a Jewish word book! How does one briefly discuss this? Technically, there is no Jewish language. Therefore, this is a cultural dictionary, and because Jewish culture is found throughout the world, Jewish words originate from many languages–Yiddish, Hebrew, Latin, German, Spanish, English, Aramaic, Arabic, French, Russian, and more.
More than 1,200 widely used words and expressions are listed in a straightforward dictionary format.

Each entry contains the language of origin, phonetic pronunciation, grammatical usage, definitions (current and old-fashioned), and examples of use within appropriate contexts. Cross-references are provided for additional words used within the definitions and for words having the same or similar meanings. The authors decided to include only those words and phrases most likely to be encountered in American daily life. Therefore, the dictionary has words associated with Jewish foods, holidays, life cycles, synagogues, religious practices, customs, and traditions. Various expressions originating in “the old country” and handed down through immigrant generations, along with holiday greetings, also are found here. The only people entries are for the major scholars and historical figures directly associated with holidays.

In place of an index, category lists are found at the end of the dictionary. All words and terms listed as entries are sorted into groups such as “Bar and Bat Mitzvah,” “Kabbalah,” and “Keeping Kosher.” This enables those who are unfamiliar with something to find related terms quickly. All in all, the Dictionary of Jewish Words is wonderful! It is an exciting reference concept and an easy resource for understanding the Jewish culture. Gai gezunt (use it well). Ann Cohen

“Dictionary of Jewish Words” by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic is available for iPhone,  iPod Touch,  iPad with free Amazon app  (download app – here)

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 6221 KB
Publisher: Jewish Publication Society of  America (April 30, 2001)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
Price: $6.77  (Buy now)

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