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Glossary:
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Gabbai
(Heb/Aram. Attendant/tax collector) Title of the person in charge of organizing synagogue services. A gabbai's other roles include calling individuals up to the Torah for an aliyah and standing beside the reader to monitor for mistakes.
Gabriel
An angel or archangel, who according to Jewish tradition is said to have been the voice that told Noah to gather the animals before the great flood; the invisible force that prevented Abraham from slaying Isaac; the invisible force that wrestled with Jacob; and the voice of the burning bush. Gabriel is also mentioned in Christian tradition in regards to story of the virgin birth of Jesus, as well as with the revelation of the Quran in Islam.
Gadna
(Heb. acronym, Gedudei Noar- youth battalions) Israeli youth corps run by Ministry of Defense for pre-military training of teenagers. Originally created in the years right before the 1948 War of Independence to train young able bodied teenagers, today, the Gadna acts as three day orientation experience for Israeli youth nearing the beginning of their military service.
Gadol
(Heb. Large or great) Aside from its literal meaning, the term gadol is often used to refer to a leading Torah scholar of a certain prominence and caliber.
Gahal
(Heb. Coal) Israeli political party established in 1965 by the merger of the Herut and the Liberal parties.The party derives its name from the initials of its Hebrew name Gush Herut Liberalim (Eng. Herut (freedom)Liberal Block).
Galei Tzahal
(Heb. Army airwaves)One of several official IDF radio stations.
von Galen, Bishop August Graf
Bishop of Munster who attacked Hitler's notions of racial purity. Actively protested the Nazi Euthanasia Program which earned him the nickname of the "Lion of Munster".
Galili Document
A plan prepared in early 1973 by Israeli minister Israel Galili for the lands acquired during the Six Day War regarding development of economy, infrastructure, and social services of the residents and their closer integration with the Israeli economy. The plan was overtaken by the Yom Kippur War.
Galut
(Heb. Exile) Term used to refer to the Jewish presence outside of the Land of Israel which came about through the babylonian and Roman conquests of the land.
Gan Eden
(Heb. Garden of Eden) Biblical paradise mentioned in Genesis and the home of Adam and Eve.
Ganzenmüller, Albert (1905-1973)
The state secretary of the German Reich Transportation Ministry from 1942-45, Ganzenmüller was responsible for overseeing the German railway system during the period in which approximately three million Jews were transported to death camps by rail. After the war, he escaped to Argentina, but returned to Germany in 1955. In 1973 Ganzenmüller was brought to trial, but died of a heart attack during the proceedings.
Gaon
(Heb. Genius). A title bestowed upon the head of the Babylonian Jewish academy and subsequently used to refer to distinguished talmudic scholars in the 6th to 12th centuries.
Gareen
(Heb. Core) Small group of young Jews dedicated to establishing something new (usually a settlement or community) in Israel.
Gas Chamber
Method in which poisonous gas is placed into a confined area with the intent to kill those inside. used by the Nazis for “efficient” mass murder. During the Holocaust, the Nazis developed both mobile and stationary gas chambers as early as December 1939.
Gau
(Ger. Province) A territorial unit administered by the Nazis during WWII . Germany was divided into 42 Gau, and the Nazi official in charge of a Gau was known as a Gauleiter).
Gauleiter
See Gau.
Gaza-Jericho Accord (Cairo Agreement)
May 4, 1994, agreement implementing Israel's withdrawal of forces from the Gaza Strip and Jericho. The agreement detailed various aspects of Palestinian self-rule, including the respective roles of the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian police force, as well as border arrangements. The Cairo Agreement was superseded by the Interim Agreement (“Oslo II”) of September 28, 1995.
Gaza Strip
Narrow, 25-mile long strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea that Israel captured from Egypt in the 1967 War. The Cairo Agreement of May 4, 1994, led to civil autonomy for the Gaza Strip's Palestinian residents within the framework of an Israeli military withdrawal from the region. Israel later dismantled all Israeli settlements and withdrew fully from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 as part of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon's unilateral disengagement plan. Since then, there have been over 6,000 rockets fired from Gaza into Israel, namely the city of Sderot, by Hamas.
Gaza Tunnels
Palestinians have built large and advanced underground tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt boarder that they use to smuggle weapons, explosives, ammunition, and drugs into the Strip.
Gaza Withdrawal Plan
On May 28, 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon announced a unilateral disengagement plan from Gaza in which all Israeli settlements and troops would withdraw. Israeli would also withdraw from four West Bank settlements and would help improve the infrastructure in the West Bank. Sharon met with opposition from within his own party yet managed to secure Knesset approval. Israel completed the withdrawal in August of 2005.
G'dud Ha-Avodah
(Heb.Work Battalion) Socialist organization founded in 1920 by Joseph Trumpledor with the goals of working, settling, and defending the land of Israel.
G'dud Ha-Ivri
See Jewish Brigade.
Gefangenschaft
(Ger. Imprisonment) Term used to describe life in Nazi concentration camps and the Jewish ghettos during the Holocaust
Geheime Staatspolizei
(Ger. Secret State Police) Nazi secret police, commonly referred to as the Gestapo.
Geheime Staatspolizei
(Ger. Secret State Police) Nazi secret police, commonly referred to as the Gestapo.
Geiger, Abraham (1810-1874)
Early Jewish reform advocate in Germany, noted for his scholarship, his modern prayer book, and his advocacy for Judaism as a universal religion.
Gelilah
(Heb. The rolling) The act of rolling a Torah scroll after it is read. Such a task is given as an honor and often to young children.
Gemara
(Heb. Completion) Popularly applied to the Babylonian Talmud as a whole, to discussions by rabbinic teachers on Mishnah, and to decisions reached in these discussions. In a more restricted sense, the work of the generations of the amoraim in “completing” Mishnah to produce the Talmud.
Gematria
(Gre. Geometry) An numerological process used in rabbinic Judaism to interpret the meaning, significance, and relationship between words by totaling the numerical value.
Gemeindepolizei (Generalgouvernement)
(Ger.) Local police
Gendarmerie (Generalgouvernement)
(Ger.) Rural police
General Government (Generalgouvernement)
(Ger.) Territory in Poland administered by a German civilian governor-general with headquarters in Krakow after the German occupation in World War II.
General Unions
PLO-affiliated organizations that represent different facets of Palestinian society. Some of these include the General Unions of Palestinian Students, Workers, teachers etc.
Geneva Conference of 1973
Conference for Middle East peace held in Geneva in response to the 1973 Yom Kippur War and by order of United Nations Security Council Resolution 338. The conference was attended by Egypt, Israel, the United States, the Soviet Union, Jordan and the United Nations.
Geneva Initiative
Unofficial initiative proposed during the Second Intifada in December 2003 by Yossi Beilin (Israeli peace activist) and Yasser Abed-Rabbo (senior PLO member). The measure called for: a cessation of violence, Palestinians to relinquish claims of a right to return, and recognition of Israel. In return, Israel would withdraw to the pre-1967 boundaries (with slight modifications made pending discussions). Jerusalem would be divided with the Dome of the Rock under Palestinian control and the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty, and an international force would maintain security on the Temple Mount allowing for free access to people of all faiths.
Genocide
The partial or entire annihilation of religious, racial or ethnic groups.
Genizah
(Heb. Storage). A storeroom used to house worn-out holy books, which according to Jewish tradition are forbidden to be thrown out. Genizot(also referred to as Shemos or Shemos boxes) typically hold worn out holy texts until they can be ritually buried. 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.
Gentile(s)
(Lat. People or Nation). Term used to refer to a non-Jew (goy).
Geonic Period
See Gaon.
German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
An agreement signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on the eve of WWII. The pact was a temporary alliance of adversaries which secured Hitler's eastern front and bought time for Soviet military preparedness. The agreement was breached by Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union less than two years later which caused Stalin to switch sides and support the Allies.
Gerstein, Kurt (1905-1945)
Head of the Waffen SS Institute of Hygiene in Berlin. While maintaining ties with the resistance, Gerstein purchased the gas needed in Auschwitz, officially for fumigation purposes, but actually used for the killing of Jews. He passed on information about the killings to Swedish representatives and Vatican papal nuncios. Overwhelmed with remorse he hanged himself in a French jail after the war.
Ger Toshav
(Heb. Alien Inhabitant) Biblical term for a non-Jewish resident living in the Land of Israel.
Gesher
(Heb. Bridge) Israeli movement founded in 1970 to ease internal tensions between the religious and secular communities.
Gesia Cemetery
The largest Jewish cemetery in Warsaw just outside the location of the old Warsaw Ghetto. Of the approximately 300,000 tombstones contained in the cemetery, more than 100,000 are in various states of disrepair.
Gestapo
(Geheime Staatspolizei). The Nazi Secret State Police. The name was created from the first letter of the German name Geheime Staats Polizei. Established in Prussia in 1933, its power spread throughout Germany after 1936. The Gestapo’s chief purpose was the persecution of Jews and dissident political parties. Under Himmler’s direction, the Gestapo was a prime force in the murder of the six million Jews.
Get
(Heb. Divorce). A Jewish writ of divorce.
Gezeirah
(Heb. Decree) A law instituted by the rabbis to prevent people from unintentionally violating commandments.
Ghetto
The ghetto was a section of a city where all Jews from the surrounding areas were forced to reside. The Nazis revived the medieval ghetto in creating their compulsory “Jewish Quarter” (Wohnbezirk).Surrounded by barbed wire or walls, the Nazi ghettos were often sealed so that people were prevented from leaving or entering. Established mostly in Eastern Europe (e.g., Lodz, Warsaw, Vilna, Riga, Minsk), the ghettos were characterized by overcrowding, starvation and forced labor. All were eventually destroyed as the Jews were deported to death camps.
Gibbor
(Heb. a mighty person) The one who conquers his evil inclination
Gibralter
The crossing point at Chlodna Street between the two sections of the Warsaw Ghetto. Nicknamed Gibralter by the Germans, this was where Jews were forced to wait, often for hours, before being allowed to cross from one side of the ghetto to the other. The crossing was closed after a wooden bridge was constructed to connect the two sides of the ghetto.
Gilgamesh
Ancient Mesopotamian epic tail of a widespread flood similar to that described in the Torah.
Glatstein, Yaakov (1896-1971)
Yiddish poet; Poland and United States.
Gleichschaltung
(Ger. To make the same, to bring into line) The process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control over the individual, and tight coordination over all aspects of society and commerce.
Glick, Hirsch (1922-1944)
Lithuanian poet and partisan. Author of the anthem of the partisans (Zog Nit Keyn Mol).
Glücks, Richard (1889-1945)
In 1936 Glücks became chief aide to Theodor Eicke and eventually succeeded Eicke as the inspector of the Nazi concentration camps. Glücks was responsible for the construction of Auschwitz and the creation of the gas chambers. In 1942 he was made head of an SS Wirtschafts-Verwaltunghauptamt unit. He died in May 1945, presumably a suicide.
G'milut Chasadim
(Heb. Acts of loving kindness) Talmudic term used to implore the need to treat all creatures with love and kindness.
G'mar Chatimah Tovah
(Heb. May you be sealed (in the Book of Life) for (a) good (year)) Traditional greeting exchanged during the Aseret Yimmei Tshuva (Ten days of Penitence observed between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur).
Gnosticism
(Gre. Knowledge) Form of dualist ideology in which one believes there to be two separate and antithetical supreme beings- one who controls all good, and another who controls all evil. (Not to be confused with agnosticism).
God
Supreme being and creator of the world.
Goebbels, Joseph (1897-1945)
Leader of the Nazi propaganda machine, later the minister in charge of all Nazi Propaganda and Hitler's successor as the Chancellor of Germany. He controlled the media and oversaw the “Nazification” of public discourse and written materials. Goebbels supervised the publication of Der Stürmer and conducted the propaganda campaign against the Jews. He was also responsible for the book burning of May 10, 1933. On the day following Hitler's death, Goebbels and his wife committed suicide in Hitler's bunker, after first ordering the murder of their six children, all under the age of thirteen.
Goerlitz
One of about 60 sub-camps of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp located in Lower Silesia.
Göring, Hermann (1893-1946)
An early member of the Nazi party, Goring participated in Hitler's “Beer Hall Putsch” in Munich in 1923. After its failure, he went to Sweden, where he lived (for a time in a mental institution) until 1927. In 1928, he was elected to the Reichstag and became its president in 1932. When Hitler came into power in 1933, he made Göring Air Minister of Germany and Prime Minister of Prussia. He was responsible for the rearmament program and for the creation of the German Air Force. In 1939, Hitler designated him his successor. During World War II, he was virtual dictator of the German economy and was responsible for the total air war waged by Germany. Convicted at Nuremberg in 1946, Göring committed suicide by taking poison just two hours before his scheduled execution.
Gola
See galut.
Golan Heights
Mountainous region in the northeastern part of Israel (part of Syria before the 1967 Six Day War). The Golan Heights are important for their strategic value and water supply.
Golan Law
Proposed in 1981 by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and later ratified by the Israeli parliament(Knesset), it officially annexed the Golan Heights to Israel.
Golem
(Heb. Cocoon) According to the Talmud and Jewish folklore, the golem is a clay automaton which can be created through a series of spells and incantations to protect an oppressed Jewish community.
Gonif
(Heb./Yid. Thief) A dishonest person.
Good Fence Policy
Term used to describe Israel's foreign policy of containment with Lebanon after the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Israel supplied Christians in southern Lebanon with food, medicine, and arms in order to prevent Syria from invading Lebanon and aiding attacks against Israel.
Gordonia
Zionist youth movement founded in 1925 by practical Zionist leader A.D. Gordon to promote aliyah to Israel and pioneering the land.
Goy
(Heb./Yid. Nation) Gentile or non-Jew.
Grager
(Yid. Noisemaker) An instrument traditionally used to blot out the name of Haman during the reading of the Megillah on Purim. (Heb. Ra'ashan)
Green Area
Areas in Israel where construction is not allowed in order to preserve open land.
Greenberg, Moshe (1928-)
Biblical scholar; United States and Israel.
Great Revolt (66-73 CE)
The first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judea Province against the Roman Empire (the second was the Kitos War in 115–117 AD, the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt, 132–135 CE). It began in the year 66, stemming from Greek and Jewish religious tension. It ended when legions under Titus besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, looted and burned Herod's Temple (in the year 70) and Jewish strongholds (notably Gamla in 67 and Masada in 73), and enslaved or massacred a large part of the Jewish population. The defeat of the Jewish revolts by the Roman Empire also contributed substantially to the numbers and geography of the Jewish diaspora, as many Jews were scattered or sold into slavery after losing their state.
Great Synagogue (Warsaw)
Synagogue destroyed by the Nazi's during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Greater German Reich
Hitler's aim to establish a German empire on the land that was once considered Germany at the peak of its power.
Greeners
(Yid. Green people) Term used affectionately by many Holocaust survivors to refer to inexperienced people, particularly new immigrants.
Green Line
Line of demarcation between Israel and Jordan; it existed from 1949 until the 1967 Six Day War. The line was drawn roughly along the current boundary between Israel and the West Bank, and draws its name from the green line that was drawn in pencil during cease fire negotiations between the two nations.
Gross-Rosen
Nazi concentration camp located near a granite quarry of the same name in Lower Silesia. The working conditions involved backbreaking labor in the quarry and special work assignments during what were supposed to be hours of rest. The camp was expanded into a network of 60 sub-camps involved in armaments production. The main camp held 10,000 and the sub-camps 80,000 prisoners.
Grynszpan, Herschel (1921-1943)
Young Polish Jew, who on November 7, 1938, assassinated Nazi Third-Secretary Ernst vom Rath. The Nazis used this incident as an excuse for the kristallnacht pogrom the next day.
Guide for the Perplexed
Maimonides masterpiece of Jewish philosophy and theology, written from the perspective of an Aristotelian philosopher. (Heb. Moreh N'vuchim). See also Maimonides.
Gush Emunim
(Heb. Bloc of the Faithful) Group of religious Israeli settlers who believe that the “Greater Land of Israel” is the fulfillment of the Zionist dream and a step in the redemption process and, therefore, opposes the return of territory conquered by Israel in Six Day War.
Gush Herut Liberali
(Heb. Liberal Freedom Bloc) Israeli Revisionist party that merged with the Likud in 1973. (Also known by its Hebrew acronym Gachal).
Gypsies
A nomadic people, believed to have come originally from northwest India, from where they immigrated to Persia by the fourteenth century. Gypsies first appeared in Western Europe in the 15th century. By the 16th century, they had spread throughout Europe, where they were persecuted almost as relentlessly as the Jews. The gypsies occupied a special place in Nazi racist theories. It is believed that approximately 500,000 perished during the Holocaust.

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