Defining Our Terms
by Judith T. Fox
Translator’s note: I’ve attempted to keep these definitions very brief. Fuller explanations of many of these themes are available elsewhere on this site and I encourage you to read them. If you still have questions, have other words you want defined, or just want more information, please fcontact the Director of Congregational Learning, at 860-233-2774,
Bar/Bat Mitzvah -
The age at which a Jew is considered an adult in terms of religious responsibility. Bar refers to boys and Bat to girls. Bar/Bat Mitzvah is also often used to describe the service at which a young person celebrates becoming Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
B’nei Mitzvah -
The plural of Bar Mitzvah. The plural includes both male and female.
Blessing. Prayers praising God for creating specific things and commanding us to do certain rituals.
Literally, “In our hands.” This is the name of the social justice committee of The Emanuel Synagogue.
The raised platform in the front of the sanctuary where those leading the service stand.
Brit Milah -
The circumcision ceremony of a Jewish boy which celebrates his becoming part of the covenant between God and the Jewish people. The child is named at this time. This usually takes place when the child is 8 days old.