Here and there you will notice a bit more vocabulary in various sections, but these are more central items, so that you have them handy.

  • Atzeret   עצרת
    = cessation, assembly; or a concluding assembly, so-to-speak.
    This is another name for Shavuot in its designation by Talmudic rabbis as a concluding holiday to the Pesach period (just as Shemini Atzeret acts as a concluding holiday for Sukkot). 
  • Chag HaBikurim   חג הבכורים
    =  the Festival of the First Fruits, another name for Shavuot as an agricultural festival. 
  • Chag Hakatzir   חג הקציר
    = the Festival of the Harvest, another agricultural name for Shavuot, referring to the wheat harvest.  By the way, chita / חיטה  is the Hebrew word  for wheat. 
  • Shavuot  שבועות  , Chag HaShavuot    חג השבועות
    = weeks, the Festival of Weeks. 
  • shavua   שבוע
    means week, as in shavua tov / שבוע טוב / "have a good week" :)
  • Zman Matan Toratenu   זמן מתן תורתינו
    = Time of the Giving of our Torah, a later designation for Shavuot added in Talmudic times. 
  • shalosh regalim   שלוש רגלים
    = the three pilgrimage festivals, which are Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot
  • sefirat ha-omer   ספירת העומר  
    = counting of the omer for 50 days, starting from the second day of Pesach and concluding with Shavuot.  
  • Omer / עומר
    means sheaf. 
  • Sivan   סיון
    = the ninth month of the Jewish 'civil' calendar year, and the third month in the religious year.  Sivan corresponds roughly to May/June. 

From the Scriptures

  • Aseret Hadibrot   עשרת הדברות
    = the Ten Commandments [literally, "the ten statements"].
  • Megilat Rut   מגילת רות
    = Scroll of Ruth, Book of Ruth. 
  • Chumash    חומש
    = The Five Books of Moses aka Pentateuch. It really started out as a word meant to differentiate, to refer to any printed form of Torah that did not comply with the strict rules in rendering a Sefer Torah (halachically-rendered Torah scroll). It derives from the Hebrew word for five - chamesh / חמש. 
  • TaNaCh   חנ''ך
    = the Hebrew Bible. TaNaCh is an acronym for its three parts- Torah /תורה   (teaching),
  • Nevi-im  /  נביאים  (prophets),  Ketuvim  /  כתובים  (Writings).
    It is also known as Mikra  /  מיקרא  , or 'that which is read'. Additionally there was oral law which was also considered to be part of Torah - that was passed down and eventually solidified by the rabbis into the Talmud /  תלמוד  (meaning instruction or learning). 
  • Har Sinai   הר סיני  
    = Mount Sinai 
  • midbar   מדבר
    = desert 
  • Moshe    משה
    = Moses, meaning "drawn out [of the water]". 
  • Miryam   מרים
    = Miriam, Moses' and Aaron's sister. The name means "sea of bitterness/sorrow".  She is the one who, at her mother's direction, went and hid her brother as a baby to prevent his slaughter. 
  • Aharon   אהרון
    = Aaron, Moses' older brother. The name means "teaching" or "singing", also "shining" or "mountain".  Aaron was the first High Priest of the Israelites. 
  • Rut   רות
    = Moabitess who married Naomi's son Boaz, and chose to take on Judaism, staying loyal even after her husband's death.  Great-grandmother of King David. While there is no set rule, female converts often take the Hebrew name Rut as symbolic of loyalty, or Sara as first mother of Israel. (Male converts often take the name Avraham.) 
  • Naomi   נעמי
    = Ruth's mother-in-law, to whom Ruth famously proclaimed eternal allegiance. The name means "beautiful, pleasant, delightful". 
  • Boaz   בועז
    Son of Naomi, second husband of Ruth. The name means "swiftness" or "strength". 
  • sofer stam  סופר סת"ם
    = sofer is a scribe. Stam is an acronym from Sefer (which literally means book but in this case, indicates the Torah), tefillin and mezuzah. This scribe is the professional go-to guy.  


  • dvash   דבש
    = honey 
  • chalavi   חלבי
    = dairy (adjective). The word for milk in Hebrew is chalav  חלב . 
  • gvina גבינה  
    = cheese 
  • ugat gvina   עוגת גבינה
    = cheesecake.  Cake in Hebrew is uga
  • blinches (in this rare instance, pronounce that ch like the ch in chips)  בלינצ'ס
    = blintzes (the Jewish crepe) 
  • tzimchoni   צימחוני
    = vegetarian (adjective) 

More Vocabulary

  • perach/prachim   פרח/פרחים
    = flower/flowers
  • zer prachim   זר פרחים
    floral head-wreath
  • alef-bet   אלף-בית
    = Hebrew alphabet 
  • mispar/misparim  מספר.מספרים
    = number/numbers 
  • Magen David  מגן דויד
    = Star of David 

Check out some of our free multimedia reviews and games for more vocabulary, plus other materials you may find helpful for using in your lessons and activities now and throughout the year: