Glossary of Terms
Aliyah: The honor of being called up to the Torah during a service to chant the blessings before and after the Torah reading.
Berit: Hebrew meaning “covenant,” referring to the Covenant made between God and the Jewish people, first with our ancestors and then with the nation at Mt. Sinai.
Berit Chayim: Covenant of Life, the name we use here at Congregation B’nai Israel for the ceremony we have for entering our baby daughters into the Covenant.
Berit Milah: Covenant of Circumcision, the name for the ceremony for entering our sons into the Covenant.
Bimah: The reading table or lectern in our sanctuary or chapel.
Hatafat Dam Brit: The drop of blood of the Covenant; the ritual performed on a previously circumcised male for the purposes of conversion.
Kiddush: The blessing over wine.
Mikveh: Ritual bath. Used, among other things, in connection with the rituals of conversion.
Kvater/ Kvaterin: The godfather/godmother who brings the child into the room.
Mohel: An individual trained to perform a ritual circumcision. Also known as a moyel; plural is mohalim.
Rosh Chodesh: The new moon. Celebrated monthly by all Jews, it is known as a celebration which is special to women. Traditions for holding study and spiritual journey groups have developed in connection with this celebration. Sandek: The individual who is given the honor of holding a baby boy for the mohel during the circumcision.