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D'var Torah
(Heb. Word of Torah).Short speech generally delivered on the Sabbath concerning the weekly Torah portion (parsha).
Erected in 1933, Dachau was the first Nazi concentration camp. Used mainly to incarcerate German political prisoners until late 1938, whereupon large numbers of Jews, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, and other supposed enemies of the state and anti-social elements were sent as well. Nazi doctors and scientists used many prisoners at Dachau as guinea pigs for experiments. During the war, construction began on a gas chamber, but it never became operational. Dachau was liberated by American troops in April 1945.
Daf Yomi
(Heb. Daily Page) Refers to the learning of one page of Talmud a day, an idea of Rabbi Meir Schapiro's to bring Talmud to the masses.
Dalet Plan
The night before the end of Great Britain’s mandate in Palestine, the Jewish forces devised a plan to capture strategic positions with the purpose of blocking invading Arab armies in the areas allotted to the Jews for a state. Launched in April 1948, the plan provided for the capture of territories right outside the border of the state allotted to the Jews that were of strategic importance to the Jewish state and whose occupancy by Arabs would pose a threat to the Jewish nation. The plan called for capturing the villages by either blowing them up or surrounding them and expelling the residents. The plan was purely defensive in nature and did not call for the destruction of all villages, only those that attacked.
(Heb. blood) The first plague.
A city on the Baltic Sea, held alternatively by Germany and Poland. After WWI Danzig was made a "free city" under the auspices of the League of Nations. This gave Poland access to the sea and cut off East Prussia from the rest of Germany. Over ninety percent of the population was German and wanted to be re-united with Germany.
(Heb. Religious) Term used to refer to a religious person. (See also Chiloni)
(Heb. Thing) Israeli Labor Party Newspaper.
(Yid.) To pray.
David, King
Israelite king famed for his heroism in facing the giant Goliath, David expanded the Israelite kingdom and founded the Davidic line of kings.
A noise-making mortar cannon that supposedly convinced the Arabs of Safed in 1948 that the Jews had a super weapon ready to use against them and played a large part in winning the Israeli War of Independence.
Days of Awe
Ten days from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, a time for introspection and considering the sins of the previous year.
Dead Sea Scrolls
See Qumran.
Death Camp
Nazi extermination centers where Jews and non-Jews were brought to be put to death as part of Hitler's Final Solution during the Holocaust.
Death Marches
Forced marches of prisoners over long distances and under intolerable conditions. The prisoners, guarded heavily, were treated brutally and many died from mistreatment or were shot.
A Greek term referring to the ten commandments (aseret hadibrot) received by Moses on Mount Sinai according to Jewish scriptures (Exodus 20.1-17; Deuteronomy 5.1- 21).
Declaration of Independence
Proclamation read in Tel Aviv by David Ben Gurion on May 14, 1948, declaring Eretz Yisrael, the historical and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people, to be an independent state founded on democracy and equality with nondiscriminatory treatment of its Arab citizens, and known as the State of Israel.
Declaration of Principles (DOP)
Agreement signed September 13, 1993, by Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Mahmoud Abbas as part of the Oslo Accords. The document called for the PLO to renounce terror and violence, form an interim Palestinian Self-Governing Authority to rule the West Bank and Gaza Strip during a five-year transitional period before a permanent solution. The DOP delayed contentious issues, such as Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, and security arrangements and set up a timeline for a series of interim agreements leading to a permanent status resolution. However, this timeline was not kept and deadlines were missed.
DEF (Deutsche Email Fabrik)
The factory Oskar Schindler ran in Krakow. The building still stands and houses yet another factory. When Schindler arrived in Krakow in September 1939, he purchased, at a very low price, through the process of “Aryanization,” an old Jewish owned factory in a suburb of Krakow. With the benefit of Jewish capital, Jewish labor, and Jewish expertise, he reorganized the factory and began producing enamel bowls and other kitchenware for the German army. Schindler named his new business Deutsche Email Fabrik, or German Enamel Factory (DEF). It became the “haven” for an estimated 1,100 Krakow Jews. Schindler earned a fortune from his factory, but later spent much of it bribing Nazi officials on behalf of the Jews.
The first collective settlement in Palestine, the kvutza Degania, is located south of Lake Kinneret, where the Jordan River emerges from the lake. It was established in 1909 by a group of pioneers on land acquired by the Jewish National Fund, and named Degania for the Hebrew “dagan,” meaning grain. In 1911, a second group, which based itself on the principles of collectivism, made Degania the “mother of the collective settlements.” A.D. Gordon, an early member, played an important role in laying the ideological foundations for collective living. Hundreds of kibbutzim and kvutzot were later founded on this model, and together they created a singular enterprise of modern Jewish rural settlement in Eretz Israel - the kibbutz.
Degel HaTorah
(Heb. Flag of the Torah) Ultra-Orthodox political party in Israel, made up of Mitnagdim (religious Jews who reject Chassidus).
(Lat. The murder of God) An accusation hurled against Jews throughout the centuries, blaming them for having killed the divine son of God and thereby God.
(Lat.) God.
Dekel Operation
After the second cease-fire of the War of Independence, the Israeli military defeated the Arab Liberation Army in the lower Galilee to capture the region as well as the Arab city of Nazareth.
Demilitarized Zones
The 1949 Armistice Agreement between Israel and Syria created three demilitarized zones with undetermined sovereignty. The issue became unresolved at the outbreak of the Six Day War.
(Greek. “maker”). A philosophical concept found in Platonic philosophy used to designate the divine agency by which the physical world came into existence. The idea was taken over in Christian gnosticism to distinguish the creator of the physical world (often seen as evil) from the superior/good God who is completely unconnected with matter.
Democratic Front of the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP)
Break-away organization of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, it is an ultra-Marxist group under the PLO umbrella and has carried out numerous attacks against Israel.
Roman Republican coins, originally cast in silver and worth 10 asses; known as a “penny” in the New Testament.
The forced transport of people outside of the area where they live.
Der Judenstaat
(Ger. The Jewish State) Book by Theodor Herzl (founder of the Zionist Movement) in which he expressed his ideas about the formation of a Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael through a parable.
Der Stürmer
(Ger. The Stormer ). Anti-Semitic German weekly, founded and edited by Julius Streicher, appeared in Nuremberg between 1923 and 1945.
Desecrating the Host
Jews were accused of defiling the Host (bread used in the Christian Eucharist ritual), with blood. The red substance that can grow on bread which has a blood-like appearance is now known to be a mold. This allegation was used as the reason for a series of anti-Semitic attacks.
Determined Path Operation
Israeli military operation launched on June 19, 2002 against the Palestinian National Authority after a rise in suicide bombings and shortly after Israel ended its relatively unsuccessful operation Defensive Shield. It paved the way for reoccupation of many villages and PNA areas deemed necessary for Israel’s security.
Deutero Isaiah
From Greek, in scholarly usage Second Isaiah (chapters 49 - 55) and Third Isaiah (chapters 56 - 65).
Deutschen Polizei
(Ger. German Police) Divided by Himmler into two branches: (1) Ordnungspolizei, Ordinary Police, abbreviated to Orpo, and (2) Sicherheitspolizei, the Security Police, abbreviated to Sipo.
(Heb. words or things). The fifth and final book of the Torah (Deuteronomy).
Development Towns
New towns established in Israel to provide for urban growth, but essentially to house immigrants since 1950's, succeeding the ma'abarah, transitional camp, which had been widely used since 1948. Its goal was to offer communities both homes and employment opportunities, although it often did not succeed in raising initial lower economic status; used primarily for immigrants of Sephardi and eastern origin.
(Gre. scattering) Often used to refer to the Jewish communities living among the gentiles outside the of Israel.
Die Juden sind under Ungluck
(Ger. The Jews are our misfortune) Nazi slogan.
Dietary laws
See kosher.
(Heb.) Law, judgment.
Dir Yassin
An Arab village located northeast of Jerusalem. During the Israeli War of Independence, the Irgun and Stern Gang (LECHI) attacked the village killing many Palestinian civilians. Though official numbers vary greatly (in part because the Labor led government of the time also embellished statistics to distance themselves from the rival parties who carried out the attacks), the battle of Dir Yassin remains a much talked about controversy until today.
Refers to Jordan's administrative and economic withdrawal from the West Bank on July 31, 1988; or Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza strip in 2005.
A modern conservative Protestant position that divides history into various periods of divine activity (dispensations or households), each of which is identified by a specific characterization.
Displaced Persons (DPs)
Term used to describe people driven out of their homes during times of war. The term is often used in reference to Jewish Holocaust refugees.
Founded on December 5, 1933, it merged two German telegraph companies to become sole way the Nazis distributed all of their official announcements.
The district capital of the Ukraine in the former Soviet Socialist Republic. On the eve of World War II it had a Jewish population of some 80,000 out of a total population of 500,000. During WWII the northern Ukraine with its wide expanses of forests and swamps became an area of extensive Soviet partisan activity. The forest areas provided refuge to Jews who fled extermination and to escaped Jewish prisoners-of-war. Jewish partisan groups in the Ukraine were not able to maintain a separate Jewish identity but were required to be incorporated within the Soviet units.
A general term for a formally defined belief (e.g., the doctrine of the resurrection in Christianity), or for the total system of beliefs.
In Christianity, an authoritative statement of belief; official doctrine; can also be used as a general term.
(Ger. Stab in the back). Myth that the German military had not been defeated in World War I, but that the Germans had been "stabbed in the back" by Jews, socialists and liberals who forced them to surrender.
The state of being silent as part of the four states: silent, living, animated, and speaking.
Dor De'ah
(Heb. generation of wisdom) Religious movement in Yemen opposed to mystical trends.
Dovecote Operation
A defensive plan created in 1970 for a possible attack from Egypt. However, when Egypt did attack in 1973, the plan was insufficient to hold back the massive offensive.
(Heb.) Interpretation of a Torah passage (often a creative interpretation).
(Yid.) Four-sided, top-like toy used during Chanukah.
The Dreyfus Affair
In 1894, in the aftermath of military defeat at the hands of Prussia, Alfred Dreyfus (1859-1935), an assimilated Jewish captain in the French military, was tried for selling military secrets to Germany. He was found guilty and sentenced to internment at Devil’s Island. During the controversy surrounding the trial, anti-Jewish riots broke out in various French cities. Under pressure from French intellectuals who recognized Dreyfus was being used because he was a Jew as a scapegoat for France's military defeat, a retrial freed Dreyfus for time served. Eventually, Dreyfus was fully exonerated and reinstated as a major in the army. Jews worldwide were shocked that enlightened France and much of her citizenry could act in such a blatantly anti-Semitic manner. The lesson learned by many was that assimilation is no defense against anti-Semitism. As a result of the anti-Semitic overtones of the trial and much of the French press, Theodore Herzl, a reporter covering the trial, involved himself with the Zionist movement.
A religio-political sect deriving from Islam with communities in Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
Dubinsky, David
(1892-1982) Labor leader and president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) in New York from 1932 to 1966. He started as a fabric cutter. Under his leadership the ILGWU became one of the most successful unions in America. In 1934, the ILGWU joined with other organizations in forming the Jewish Labor Committee (JLC), which was involved in anti -Nazi work in Europe and in post-war relief for child survivors.
(Yid.) Priestly benediction performed on high holidays and everyday in Israel.
(Heb.) Israeli slang for simplistic, matter-of-fact, straightforward behavior; originally an Arabic word.
(Ger. abbreviation for "Durchgangslager") Transit camp for prisoners of war.
(Ger. abbreviation for "Durchgangsluftwaffelager") German transit camp for captured Allied airmen.
Unit of land area used in Israel (1,000 sq. meters., approximately 1/4 acre).
(Heb/Yid.) An evil spirit of a dead person who inhabits the living

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