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The Glossary of Terms and Names


Notations:
c. - circa, about; BCE - before common era; CE - of common era

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M]
[N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

A

Agrippa II

(28-92 CE, king from 50 CE) - the last king of Herodian line. Educated in Rome. When the Jewish Revolt broke, tried in vain to convince the Jewish people to stop it. Then joined Romans and took part in their fight against Jews.
Alexander Yannai
the Hasmonean King of Judea (103-76 BCE). Expanded his kingdom over the whole coast region from Mount Carmel to Egyptian border. Then became unpopular, and during years of unrest and Nabatean attacks losed much of his achievements. Eventually became popular again, and regained part of territories back, including Golan and the Eastern bank of Jordan.
Apocrypha:
Jewish books written in the Hellenistic-Roman period that came to be included in the Old Greek Jewish scriptures (and thus in the Eastern Christian biblical canon and in the Latin Vulgate Roman Catholic canon), but not in the Jewish or Protestant biblical canons.
Aramaic
a semitic language similar to Hebrew adopted as a common Jewish tongue first in Babylon in 6th century C.E. and then in the Land of Israel in 4th century C.E, flourished till the Moslem conquest.
Armistice Agreements
The War of Independence ended in July 1949 by armistice (cease of fire) agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon
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B

Babylonian exile

in 586 BCE Babylonia conquered the Kingdom of Judah. Jerusalem and the First Temple were destroyed, and most of Jews exiled.
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Balfour Declaration
a declaration of 1917 by British Foreign Minister Balfour supporting for establishment of a "Jewish national home in Palestine"
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Bar Kokhba Revolt
(131-135 CE) the second Jewish revolt against Rome, lead by the warrior Bar Kokhba and the prominent sage Rabbi Akiva. The Roman emperor Hadrian promised at first to rebuilt Jerusalem and the Temple, then changed his mind and decided to establish there a Roman colony, and this ignited the revolt. After the defeat of the revolt at Betar Romans leveled Jerusalem and exiled the population.
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British Rule
(1918-1948) In course of World War I, the Great Britain defeated Turks and drove them out of the Land of Israel. In July 1922, the League of Nations entrusted Great Britain with the "Mandate for Palestine"
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Bysantine Period (313-636 CE)
In 313 the Bysantine Empire was established in the eastern part of the Roman Empire after the emperor Constantine adopted Christianity. The Land of Israel had become a predominantly Christian country, and Jews were deprived of most of the little autonomy they still had.
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C

Crusader Period (1099-1291)

In 1092 the pope Urban II called to Christians to recover the Holy Land and the Sepulcre of Jesus from Moslems. Mobs of enthusiastic peasants and feudals called the Crusaders moved towards the Land of Israel, destroying Jewish Communities on their way. In 1099 they seized Jerusalem and massacred most of its non-Chrisian population.
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D

King David

(c.1004-965 BCE) - established Israel as a major power in the region, united twelve Israeli tribes in one kingdom and founded his capital in Jerusalem.
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Diaspora
(Greek, "scattering") used to refer to the Jewish communities living among outside the Land of Israel.

E

Ein

(Hebrew) - spring, water source.
Essenes
members of ascetic Jewish sects that went to live into a desert and dedicated themselves to religion.

F

G

Genizah

(Hebrew, "hiding") - a hiding place or storeroom, usually connected with a Jewish synagogue, for worn-out holy books. The most famous is the Cairo Genizah, which contained books and documents that provide source material for Jewish communities living under Islamic rule from about the 9th through the 12th centuries. It was discovered at the end of the 19th century.
Great Revolt, or Jewish War
(66-73 CE) - the massive revolt of Jews against the Roman tyranny, suported also by Messianic beliefs. Vespasian suppessed the revolt in Galilee, and his son Titus captured Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE.
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H

Haganah

clandestine Jewish organization for armed self-defense in Palestine under the British Mandate, that eventually became the nucleus of the Israel Defense Forces.
Halakha
Any normative Jewish law, custom, practice, or rite -- or the entire complex of them. Halakha is law established or custom ratified by authoritative rabbinic jurists and teachers.
Hasmonean Revolt
(167-164 BCE) the revolt against the Seleucide Greeks ruling the Land of Israel. Was prompted by the ban on practicing the Jewish religion and desecration of the Temple and lead by Matthatias of the priestly Hasmonean family and later by his five sons, the most prominent warrior of them Judah the Maccabee. In 164 the rebels liberated Jerusalem and purified the Temple.
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Hasmoneans
the family name of the Maccabean dynasty ruling in Judea in 141-37 CE, after the success of the Hasmonean Revolt. The name comes from Matthatias of the priestly Hasmonean family, who was the first leader of the revolt.
Hellenistic period:
(332-76 BCE) The period of Greek (Seleucid) domination after Alexander the Great conquered the Land of Israel. The Jewish theocracy remained for some time, and then practicing the Judaism was prohibited, causing the Hasmonean Revolt.
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Herod, or Herod the Great
(73-4 BCE) a vassal king of Judea ( from 37 BCE) appointed by Romans. A great admirer of Greco-Roman culture, Herod launched a massive construction program, which included the cities of Caesarea and Sebaste and the fortresses at Herodium and Masada. He also remodeled the Temple into one of the most magnificent buildings of its time. Known also for his unprecedented cruelty; in his obsession of power, he killed not only most of his political opponents, but also his wife Mariamne and three of his sons.

I

J

Josephus, or Josephus Flavius

(c. 37-100 CE) - roman name of Joseph Ben-Matityahu, the Jewish military leader that was captured by Romans during the Jewish Revolt, and later became a historian. His works constitute the best available source for the study of Jewish life of that period, though he is to some extent considered a traitor of Jewish people, and his historical works are not always objective.
Joshua Bin-Nun
The successor of Moses that conquered the land of Canaan and divided the conquered land among the Israelite tribes. His life and activities are described in the Biblical Book of Joshua.

K

L

Land of Israel

the territory of the ancient Israelite kingdom on both sides of the Jordan River, where the national and religios identity of the Jewish people was formed. After almost 2000 years of exile of Jews from the Land of Israel, the State of Israel was formed in a part of the Western area of the Land of Israel.

M

Masoretic

in accordance with the Masorah, a body of traditions regarding the correct spelling, writing and reading of the Hebrew Bible
Midrash
The "commentary" literature developed in classical Judaism that attempts to interpret Jewish scriptures in a thorough manner.
Mikva, mikve
A Jewish communal bath for washing away ritual impurity by immersion.
Moslem conquest
Arab (Moslem) tribes conquered the Land of Israel in 636 CE, soon after establishment of Islam. Jewish settlement in Jerusalem was resumed; later the Jewish community diminished under burden of new taxes and limitations.
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N

Nabateans

a semitic people who inhabited Negev and ancient Edom in Transjordan from 3rd century BCE to 7th century CE. Were nomads at first, then turned into traders and lead caravans along the Spice Route. Founded six cities in the Negev. Left no written records, but mentioned in Greek and Latin sources.
Nahal
(in Hebrew, river) - perennial river or dry riverbed (see Wadi).

O

Ostracon -

(plural: ostraca) - ancient enscribed potsherd
Ottoman Empire Rule
(1517 - 1917) The Land of Israel was conquered by Turkish Ottoman Empire and divided into four districts. It was attached to the Province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul.
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P

Palestine

the name for the Land of Israel, introduced first by Greeks and Romans, and in general use in the years of the Jewish exile from the Land of Israel.
Palmah
(abbreviation for hebrew "Plugot Mahatz", strike companies) - strike force within the Haganah.

Q

R

Rabbi

(Hebrew, "my master") an authorized teacher of the classical Jewish tradition after the fall of the second Temple. The role of the rabbi has changed considerably throughout the centuries. Traditionally, rabbis serve as the legal and spiritual guides of their congregations and communities. The title is conferred after considerable study of traditional Jewish sources. This conferral and its responsibilities is central to the chain of tradition in Judaism.
Roman Rule
(67 BCE-313 CE) - the period after the Land of Israel was conquered by Roman general Pompey. Jews regained some autonomy at first, but after the Jewish Revolt it was completely lost.
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Rosh ha-Shanah
the Jewish New Year, one of the holiest days of the year.

S

Sephardi

Jews of Spanish and Portuguese origin, descendants of the Jews expelled from there in 15th century.
Septuagint
Strictly speaking, refers to the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Torah, probably made during the reign of Ptolemy II, Greek ruler of Egypt around 250 BCE. Subsequently, Greek translations of other portions of the Jewish scriptures came to be added to the corpus, and the term Septuagint was applied to the entire collection.
Shofar
horn of the ram (or any other ritually clean animal excepting the cow) sounded for the memorial blowing on Rosh-ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur.
Six Day War
rapid war in June 1967 when Israel reacted to Arab threats and blockade by defeating the Egyptian, Jordanian and Egyptian armies. In six days Israel took hold over the eastern part of Jerusalem, the Western Bank of Jordan, the Golan Heights and Sinai.
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King Solomon
(c.965-930 BCE) son of King David; further strengthened the kingdom; built namy new towns; and erected the Temple of Jerusalem.
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Spanish Exile
In 1492 the Spanish King Ferdinand ordered by a special edict to expell all the Jews from his country (except those choosing to accept Christianity). Approximately 300 000 of Spanish Jews left the country in 3 months, many going to Portugal (only to be expelled from there 4 years later), others to North Africa, Turkey, and some to the Land of Israel.
Spice Route
Ancient route for trade caravans bringing spices from Arabia to Mediterranean shore, lead mainly by Nabatean traders
Synagogue
(Greek for "gathering"). The central insitution of Jewish communal worship and study since antiquity, and by extension, a term used for the place of gathering. The structure of such buildings has changed, though in all cases the ark containing the Torah scrolls faces the ancient Temple site in Jerusalem.

T

Talmud

"teaching" - compendium of discussions of the Mishnah by generations of scholars and jurists in many academies over a period of several centuries. The Jerusalem (or Palestinian) Talmud mainly contains the discussions of the Palestinian sages. The Babylonial talmud incorporates the parallel discussion in the Babylon academies.
Temple of Jerusalem
The First Temple of Jerusalem was conceived by King David and constructed by King Solomon around 950 BCE as a center of a Jewish religious life on a national scale, replacing local cult centers. Solomon hoped that the Temple sould unite the people of Israel conducted by the priestly professionals. The Temple of Solomon was destroyed by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar around 587/6 BCE.

The Second Temple was the Temple rebuilt by Jews returning from the Babylon Exile in 517 BCE. It was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The site of the ancient Jewish Temple is now occupied, in part, by the golden-domed "Dome of the Rock" Mosque.

Titus, Flavius Vespasianus
Roman Emperor (79-81 CE), son of Vespasianus, who accompanied his father in his operations in Galilee, captured Josephus, in 70 CE at the head of the Roman army conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Second Temple. Titus allegedly had decided to preserve the Temple, but after a soldier threw a burning torch into the court, failed to make his army exringuish the fire.

U

V

Vespasian, Titus Flavius

(c. 9-79 CE) - Roman general appointed as a commander of the army with the duty of crushing the Jewish Revolt. Suppressed the resistance in Galilee, then proclaimed the Roman Emperor in 69 CE and appointed his son Titus as a commander.

W

Wadi

dry riverbed that is filled with water for a short time during the rainy season in winter.
War of Independence
the war which started on May 14, 1948, when Israel proclaimed its independence, by the invasion of five armies
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X

Y

Yom Kippur

Day of Atonement, the Jewish holiday of to atonement for the sins of the past year; a complete 25-hour fast.

Z

Zealots

The group of anti-Roman rebels of the 1st century CE. Their movement started in 6 CE, but became really active in the period of Jewish Revolt. Their most basic belief was that all means were justified to attain political and religious liberty.
Zionism
movement whose goal is the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel; the word comes from the name of Mount Zion in Jerusalem.



Notations:
c. - circa, about; BCE - before common era; CE - of common era

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M]
[N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

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