• Al Aksa Mosque

    Built by the Moslems on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in 711 AD.

  • Al Nakba

    Arabic for “the disaster” – a term used by Moslems to describe the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

  • Aliyah

    Hebrew word meaning “to go up.” Describes Jewish immigration to Israel.

  • Anti-Semitism

    The term describes hatred of the Jews although, strictly speaking, a Semite is a descendant of Shem, one of the sons of Noah. Semites, therefore, include Arabs, as descendants of Ishmael, and Jews, as descendants of Jacob, also called Israel. Jews and Arabs are of the same family line back to Abraham and Shem.

  • Ashkenazi

    Jews of European extraction.

  • Balfour Declaration

    Statement by the British government in 1917 recognizing the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in Israel.

  • Camp David Accords

    In September 1978, US President Jimmy Carter hosted a meeting at Camp David, Maryland, USA. An agreement was made between Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel, and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt. In exchange for peace with Egypt, Israel agreed to withdraw from territory in the Sinai Peninsula, and to give the Palestinians autonomy in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

  • Canon

    The word canon comes from the Greek kanon which means “a measuring rod,” and signifies a rule or standard. Thus, the canon of Scripture refers to those books which have been measured, found satisfactory, and approved, through the decision of Jewish rabbis or a church council, as being inspired of God and therefore a standard for men. The decisions of the councils did not give the books their divine authority. Such decisions simply recognised that these particular books already possessed canonicity.

    How did we get the canon of Scripture?

  • Crusades

    The Crusades were Christian wars against non-Christians staged during the Middle Ages.

  • Diaspora

    Dispersion of the Jewish people. Includes all Jews today who live outside the State of Israel.

  • Dome of the Rock

    Islamic shrine built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in 691 AD.

  • Essenes

    A sect of Jews in Israel. They first appeared in the second century BC. They withdrew from society to live pious and ascetic lives. Most scholars identify this group with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

  • Gemara

    The later of the two sections of the Talmud, consisting of a commentary on the Mishna.

  • Intifada

    Uprising. The word in Arabic literally means “shaking off.” Refers to the Palestinian campaign of civil disruption in pursuit of their own state within the land of Israel.

  • Islam

    An Arabic word meaning “submission to Allah.”
    Islam is the religion of Moslems.

  • Jihad

    An Arabic word for holy war.

  • Kabbala

    General term for Jewish mystical writings and traditions. Followers of Kabbala refer to the Zohar – a book composed in the 13th century.

  • Ketuvim

    The third of the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible, also called the Holy Writings. The group includes Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles.

  • Kibbutz

    Commune in Israel.

  • Kippah

    The skullcap worn by Jewish men as a religious observance.

  • Knesset

    Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem.

  • Koran

    Holy book of the Moslems. Quran is an alternate phonetic spelling.

  • Maccabees

    Name taken from the Hebrew word for hammer.

    The Maccabees were the Jewish family of Mattathias, who were also known as the Hasmoneans. They overthrew the rule of Antiochus Epiphanes in Israel in 165 BC.

    The Maccabees retook Jerusalem and purified the Temple to begin offering sacrifices again, celebrating a feast for eight days, known from then until now as the Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah, or as the Feast of Dedication, because the Temple was rededicated.

    This festival is not mentioned in the Old Testament but is referred to in the New Testament on an occasion when Jesus was in Jerusalem. It was customary for observant Jews to go up to Jerusalem for the Feasts.

    Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.
    [John 10:22-23]

  • Masorete

    One of the body of Jewish scholars and scribes who transcribed the Masoretic text of the Old Testament. This was done by hand, before the introduction of printing.

  • Masoretic text

    The traditional, authoritative Hebrew text of the Bible, considered as such by Jews from mishnaic times until the present.

  • Messiah

    English translation of the Hebrew word Mashiach, meaning “the Anointed One.” The Greek word for Messiah is Christos, from which we get the Christ in English.

    Jesus Christ would be properly called by Hebrew-speaking Jews: Yeshua Ha Mashiach, being Jesus the Messiah.

  • Mishna

    Commentary on the Torah and rabbinic rulings compiled by Rabbi Judah Ha Nasi around 200 AD. It is the first written collection of legal commentary relating to the Torah and the rulings of the revered Jewish rabbis.

    The Talmud, which came later, expanded and commented upon the Mishna.

  • Mohammed

    Prophet of the Moslems.

  • Neviim

    The second of the three divisions of the Hebrew Bible, also called the Prophets. The group includes Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the twelve minor prophets.

  • New Testament

    The word testament means a covenant made by God with His people. The New Covenant was promised in the Old [Jeremiah 31:31-34].

    The New Testament was written entirely by Jews who believed that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

    The New Covenant writings consist of twenty-seven books or letters. The first four are gospels (meaning “good news”), being biographies of Jesus by the writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The fifth book, Acts, is historical. Then follow twenty-one letters to the church, written by various apostles. The last book, Revelation, is prophetic.

  • Jeremiah 31:31-34

    The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke My covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.

    “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

  • Oslo Accord

    In 1993 Israeli and Palestinian negotiators conducted secret talks at Oslo in Norway, leading to interim agreements between Israel and the PLO.

    In exchange for peace, Israel agreed to withdraw from territory and to grant the implementation of phased Palestinian self-rule. The peace process has been constantly disrupted by hostilities, including suicide bombings.

  • Pogrom

    Massacre of Jews in eastern Europe.

  • Qumran

    Site on the western shore of the Dead Sea where archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a building complex. This complex apparently served as the headquarters of the Essene sect from about 150 BC to 70 AD.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in nearby caves.

  • Ramadan

    Moslem holy month.

  • Sanhedrin

    An ancient Jewish council of 71 members in Jerusalem – the highest religious legal authority in Jewish life.

  • Sephardi

    Jews of Spanish extraction.

  • Septuagint

    The Greek translation of the Old Testament produced in Egypt in the Hellenistic period. It is said to have been produced by 72 Jewish scholars in 72 days.

    The name is abbreviated as LXX.

  • Shiites

    Minority group within Islam.

  • Sunnis

    Majority group within Islam.

  • Talmud

    Foundational text for Jewish study. It is an expansion of the Mishna, with commentary and rabbinic legal rulings.

    There are actually two Talmuds – the Jerusalem Talmud, finalized around 400 AD, and the more important Babylonian Talmud, finalized between 500 AD and 600 AD.

    The Babylonian Talmud has two and a half million words of commentary and expansion on the Mishna.

  • Tanach

    The Hebrew Bible, known to Christians as the Old Testament. Although the order of the books is different from that of Christian publications of the Old Testament, the content is the same.

    The word Tanach is formed from an acronym of the Hebrew words: Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim, meaning the Law, the Prophets, and the Holy Writings.

    The Torah is the first five books of the Bible – Genesis to Deuteronomy – the Law of Moses.

    The Neviim – the Prophets – is the second division. It includes Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the twelve minor prophets.

    The Ketuvim – the Holy Writings – is the third division. It includes Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and 1 and 2 Chronicles.

  • Targum

    Aramaic translations and paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures in use around the time of Jesus.

  • Temple Mount

    The Temple Mount is the most holy site in Jerusalem.

  • Torah

    Hebrew word meaning “teaching; instruction or law.” The word is usually translated Law, meaning the first five books of the Bible (Genesis to Deuteronomy), and also called the Law of Moses (ie, recorded by Moses). The word can mean, by abbreviation, all the 39 books of the Old Testament (see Tanach above).

    The rabbis have identified 613 commandments in the Law.

    Judaism places an obligation on Jews, and especially on men, to study the Torah every day.

  • Western Wall

    Known as the “kotel” in Hebrew. It has also been called the Wailing Wall.

    The Western Wall is a small part of one of the original four retaining walls, built by Herod the Great, around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. When the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD some of the lower foundation stones of the Western Wall were not moved. Through the Moslem era this was built up again, with a variety of stones used during different periods.

    This wall is where Jews came to pray throughout the centuries of exile. To this day it is a holy place of prayer for the Jewish people.

    See also Temple Mount.

  • Yad Vashem

    Jerusalem museum commemorating the Holocaust in World War II.

  • Zion

    Term derived from the original name of the Jebusite stronghold in Jerusalem [2 Samuel 5:6-7].

    The Hebrew word Zion means “fortress.”

    Zion became a symbol for Jerusalem during the reign of King David.

  • 2 Samuel 5:6-7

    The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.”

    Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.

  • Zionism

    Belief supporting the return of Jews to the Promised Land.

    The goal of Zionism today is the political and spiritual renewal of the Jewish people in the Promised Land. A Zionist is someone who supports this objective.

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