Who's Who in Jewish History: After the Period of the Old Testament

By Joan Comay | Go to book overview

Glossary
Aliyah (lit. 'a going up'). Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel. Used either generally, or in relation to a particular wave of immigration, e.g. Second Aliyah. A Jewish immigrant is an oleh (plur. olim).
Amoraim (sing. amora). Jewish scholars from the 3 to the 6 century AD, whose commentaries form the Gemara (see below).
Ashkenazim (sing. Ashkenazi). Jews of Central and Eastern European origin.
Bilu. First Aliyah of Zionist pioneers from Russia, starting in 1882. The word is formed from the first letters of the Hebrew phrase in Isaiah, meaning 'House of Jacob, come, let us go'.
Cabbala. Jewish religious mysticism, mainly in the late medieval period. Cabbalists are students of this mysticism.
Chacham. Sephardi rabbi.
Chalutz (plur. chalutzim). Zionist agricultural pioneer in the Land of Israel. The pioneering spirit is called Chalutzuit.
Chassidism. A Jewish religious revivalist movement which started in Eastern Europe in the 18 century. Its adherents are called Chassidim.
Chovevei Zion (lit. 'lovers of Zion'). Groups of pre-Herzl Zionists in 19 century Russia. Their movement was known as Chibbat Zion.
Conversos. Spanish and Portuguese Jews who were forcibly converted to Christianity in the 14 and 15 centuries, and continued to practise Jewish religion secretly.
Diaspora. The Jewish communities outside Israel.
Essenes. A Jewish religious brotherhood in Palestine from the 2 century BC to the end of the 1 century AD that lived under austere conditions in communes.
Ethnarch (lit. 'leader of the people'). A title accorded by the Romans to several later Hasmonean rulers.
Exilarch ('leader of the Exile'). A title given to the head of the Babylonian Jewish community.
Galut ('exile'). The term used for the situation of Jews in the Diaspora (see above).
Gaon (plur. geonim). Title given to the heads of the leading Babylonian academies from the 6 to the 11 centuries (the Geonic period); also used by the heads of the Baghdad academy from the 11 to the 13 centuries, in Palestine from the 9 to the 12 centuries, and by some individual scholars of note in other countries.
Gemara. The body of commentaries on the Mishnah (see below), produced by Jewish scholars in Palestine and Babylonia in the 3 to 6 centuries, and generally incorporated in the Talmud.
Haganah. Jewish self-defence militia under British Mandate.
Halachah. A rabbinical decision which is accepted in Jewish law.
Haskalah ('enlightenment'). A movement from mid-18 century for introducing general European culture into Jewish life. A follower is called maskil (plur. maskilim).
Hasmoneans. The Judean dynasty that started with the Maccabean revolt against Seleucid rule in the mid-2 century BC and ended with the death of Antigonus in 37 BC.
Herodians. The Judean dynasty starting with the accession of Herod the Great in 37 BC and ending with the death of

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