Join Our Mailing List


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

Print Friendly and PDF
Kabala(h) or Kabbala(h)
(Kabalism) (Heb. qabbala, receiving tradition). Jewish Mysticism; basic book is the Zohar, written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in the 2nd century CE.
Kabbalat ol Mitzvot
(Heb. acceptance of the yoke of the commandments). Acceptance of commandments as binding.
Kabbalat Panim
A reception for the groom before the wedding ceremony.
Kabbalat Shabbat
Service welcoming the Sabbath.
Kach/Kahane Chai
Two ultra right-wing organizations that have called for the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel. Kach was formed by the late Meir Kahane; Kahane Chai (“Kahane Lives”) was formed after Kahane's 1990 assassination. On the grounds that the Kach party was racist, the Israeli government banned its members from serving in the Knesset. In March, 1994, the government outlawed both Kach and Kahane Chai altogether after Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Muslims praying at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
A classical Jewish prayer (mostly in Aramaic) with eschatological focus extolling God's majesty and kingdom recited at the conclusion of each major section of each liturgical service; a long version (called rabbinic kaddish) follows an act of study; also a prayer by mourners during the first year of bereavement (see shiva, sheloshim) and on the anniversary of the death of next-of-kin.
Kaf-Tet Be'november 1947 (November 29, 1947)
The day on which the General Assembly of the United Nations voted in favor of the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.
Kahal (Qahal)
(Heb. congregation, gathering). Used to refer to the corporate Jewish community of medieval Europe. See also synagogue.
Kahan Commission (1982)
The commission appointed by the Israeli cabinet on September 28, 1982 to investigate the IDF’s role in the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila Refugee camps during the First Lebanon War. The commission recommended that Major General Yehoshua Saguy not continue as director of military intelligence, Brigadier General Amos Yaron acted improperly and should not serve as field commander, and that Defense Minister Ariel Sharon should not be given any “sensitive” position in the future.
A small labor camp located outside of the Vilna ghetto. It housed about 1250 workers and their families. The camp resembled a ghetto more than a concentration camp in that families were not separated and the clothing was ordinary. The workers were engaged in making fur garments for the German army. This involved re-manufacturing confiscated civilian fur coats into winter uniforms.
(Heb. bride)
Kaltenbrunner, Ernst (1903-1946)
An Austrian, Kaltenbrunner was the head of the SS in Austria from 1935-38, when Germany formally annexed the country. After the takeover he became undersecretary of state for public security. After Reinhard Heydrich's death, Kaltenbrunner became chief of the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police, Sipo) and the SD (Sicherheitsdienst, Security Service). He, along with Heinrich Himmler, was responsible for Aktion Reinhard. After the war, Kaltenbrunner was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to death. He was hanged on October 16, 1946.
Kaplan, Mordecai (1881-1983)
Founding dean of the Teachers' Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary, on whose faculty he served for more than 50 years; one of the leading thinkers of American Jewry in the 20th century and the founder of the Reconstructionist movement.
Prisoner in charge of a group of inmates in Nazi concentration camps.
Kara, Joseph (c. 1065- c. 1135)
Bible commentator; student and colleague of Rashi; northern France.
Karaism, Karaites
Derived from Heb., qara, “scripture.” A Middle Eastern heterodox Jewish group that arose in opposition to Rabbinic Judaism in the 8th century CE and emphasized the written scriptures while criticizing the rabbinic use of oral law.”
PLO base in Jordan in the 1960s.
Karine Affair (2002)
Israel seized the Karine-A freighter in January 2002. It was a Lebanese ship bound for the Palestinian National Authority in Gaza with 50 tons of weapons from Iran.
Karp Report (1984)
A committee headed by Judith Karp appointed in 1981 released a report in 1984 that concluded that police investigations into Arab complaints against Jewish settlers in the West Bank and Gaza were inadequate.
Kasher, Kashrut
See kosher.
Complex of eleven sub-camps of the Dachau concentration camp existing from June 1944 to end of April 1945. .
(Heb. intention). A mystical instrument of the Jewish kabbalists; a meditation that accompanies a ritual act, devotion, inner concentration during prayer.
(Heb. honor)
Kavod Ha-Met
(Lit. respect for the dead). One of the purposes of Jewish practices relating to death and mourning.
(Heb. holiness). It is also the name for the section of Jewish prayers said standing and assuming the role of God's angels.
(Heb. community). Jewish sense of community, in a particular sense, within the larger keneset Israel.
Refers to mixtures of species prohibited by Torah Law, such as wool and linen.
Keneset Israel
(Heb. Assembly of Israel or the Jewish people as a whole). See kehilla.
Keren Hayesod
(Palestine Foundation Fund). The financial arm of the World Zionist Organization founded in 1920.
(Lit. tearing). The tearing of one's clothes upon hearing of the death of a close relative.
(Gre. proclamation). Term used technically for the content of early Christian preaching as reconstructed by modern scholars.
Ketuva(h) or Ketuba(h)
The classical Jewish religious marriage certificate. See also get.
Ketuvim or Ketubim
(Heb. writings). The third and last division of the classical Jewish Bible (TaNaK), including large poetic and epigrammatic works such as Psalms and Proverbs and Job as well as a miscellany of other writings (Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Kohelet, Esther, Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, Chronicles).
Fixed; a fixed time; fixed words or prayer (often contrasted with kavanah).
Small commune of pioneers constituting an agricultural settlement in Eretz Israel (evolved later into kibbutz).
Kfar Habad
Newspaper of Habad (Lubavitcher) hasidim.
K'far Kana
Site of a United Nations outpost in Lebanon accidentally hit by Israeli strikes during "Operation Grapes of Wrath" killing 100 people and causing world wide criticism.
K'far Kassem
On the brink of the 1956 Suez War, 49 Israeli-Arab citizens were killed in the village of K'far Kassem. Following an investigation, several Israeli border policemen were imprisoned, though their sentences were subsequently reduced dramatically escalating distrust amongst Israel's Arab population.
Khan Yunis Raid (1955)
In late August 1955, Egyptian Fedayeen attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians in Tehovot and Rishon le-Zion intensified and ended in 11 deaths and numerous injuries and destroyed buildings. In retaliation, Israel attacked and destroyed police headquarters in Khan Yunis, killing 72 Egyptians and wounding 58 .
Khartoum Arab Summit
Arab League meeting held in Khartoum, Sudan in response to the 1967 Six Day War. At the conference the Arab league offered its famous three “no's”: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.
(Yiddish) To talk, comment and advise someone while they are doing something else.
Honors given to guests at a wedding.
Kibbush Hashmama
The conquest of the desert. The rehabilitation and settlement of desert regions (the southern part of Israel) through projects of reclamation, settlements, etc.
(pl. kibbutzim). A communal settlement in modern Israel.
Kibbutz Galuyot
Ingathering of Exiles. Israel is realizing the vision of the Biblical prophets and the ideals of the Zionist movement in serving as the gathering place for Jews from all parts of the world.
Kibbutz Dati (Religious kibbutz)
A religious Zionist kibbutz movement.
(Heb. sanctification; derived from kadosh (qadosh), holy). A ritual of Jewish sabbath and other holy days, usually accompanied by a cup of wine, which proclaims the holiness of the day.
Kiddush Hashem
Sanctification of the divine name; martyrdom.
Kiddushin (Kedushin)
(Heb. consecration). Denotes Jewish betrothal for marriage, signifying the sanctity of the relationship.
City in southeast Poland. Jews first settled there in 1868, and numbered 24,000 by the year 1939. Most known for its anti-Jewish pogrom on July 4, 1946, when an angry mob, incited by the rumor that Jews (recently returned to their home town) had killed Polish children for their blood, killed 42 Jews and wounded 50 others. The cemetery has a monument to the 42 Jews, another one to 45 very young children murdered in 1944 and a monument made of gravestones.
Kierkegaard, Soren (1813-1855)
Christian philosopher; author of Fear and Trembling (1843); a meditation on the Binding of Isaac; Denmark.
Kilometer 101
Location on the Sinai-Suez road where Israeli and Egyptian officials met in 1973 to discuss U.N. Resolution 338.
Kinneret Operation (December 11, 1955)
Operation commanded by Colonel Ariel Sharon on December 11, 1955 in which Israel launched a short and powerful raid against Syrian positions on the eastern bank of the Kinneret. Israel destroyed all Syrian fortifications and captured the entire shore
(Heb. harp).
A Jewish headcovering worn for worship, religious study, meals, or at any other time; also called yarmulke.
King-Crane Commission (1919)
International commission of inquiry led by Americans Henry King and Charles Crane to examine the situation in Palestine in 1919. The King-Crane commission marked the United States' first official involvement in the region and recommended that the British mandate of Palestine be incorporated into the Syrian mandate.
Kingdom of God
The state of the world in which God's will is fulfilled; expected to be brought into being at the end of time when Christ returns.
Kiryat Arba
Jewish town adjacent to Hebron, in the West Bank.
Kishinev Pogrom (1903)
On Easter weekend 1903, a pogrom in Kishinev, Russia, left 49 Jews dead and more than 500 injured, 700 houses looted and destroyed, 600 businesses looted, and 2,000 families left homeless. In reaction to this tragedy, American Jewry became a more tightly knit community.
The white robes in which the dead are buried, worn by some during Yom Kippur services.
Leguminous vegetables such as beans, peas, corn, and rice. The consumption of these foods is restricted for Ashkenazim on Pesach.
(Ger. Konzentrationslager). Concentration camp.
A general principle.
Klal Yisrael
The Jewish community as a whole.
The musical style that developed in Eastern Europe, which created songs in which the music needed no words to explain the thoughts of the Jewish heart and soul.
Klinghoffer, Leon
See Achille Lauro.
Absorption; social and economic integration of immigrants.
K'li Yakar
Torah commentary by Shlomo Efrayim of Lunshitz (1550-1619); Poland.
The parliament of the State of Israel. Its name and the number of its members are based on the “Knesset Hagdola” of the early Second Temple period. It is composed of 120 representatives of different political parties, elected for a four-year term.
Knesset Approval
On January 22, 1974, Prime Minister Golda Meir asked the Knesset to approve the Sinai I Agreement, setting the precedent that many prime minister followed afterwards of seeking approval from the Knesset before signing peace agreements.
(Heb. strength).
Kofer Hayishuv
A fund intended to finance the yishuv's security needs. It was founded in 1938 by the Va'ad Leumi, which levied direct and indirect taxes on the Jews of Palestine. In 1940, it began to collect an emergency tax, and in 1942 — a mobilization and rescue fund.
The book of Ecclesiastes.
Kohen or Cohen
(pl. kohanim). An Israelite priest, generally descended from the tribe of Levi.
Kol Ha'Ir
Weekly secular newspaper.
Kol Hakavod
(Heb. all honor). Used idiomatically to express praise or congratulations for an achievement.
Kol Isha
The voice of a woman (considered by the Rabbis of the Talmud to be distracting to men and thus lewd).
Kol Israel
Voice of Israel; state radio station.
Kol Nidre
The Yom Kippur Eve service is referred to as Kol Nidre. That hymn is sung during the service.
Kol Tuv
Everything good (may you be blessed with everything good).
Labor squads made up of camp prisoners.
Kommisarbefehl - The Commissar Order (1941)
Issued June 6, 1941.  Instructions on the liquidation of Bolshevik officials captured by the German forces invading the USSR. The order and further details.
Konzentrations-Lager (KZ-Lager)
Concentration Camp, such as Dachau, used for political prisoners.
Kook, Abraham Isaac (1865-1935)
Philosopher; first chief rabbi for Ashkenazim in British Mandatory Palestine.
Followers of Rav Kook.
Korczak, Dr. Janusz (1878-1942)
Educator, author, physician and director of a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw. Despite the possibility of personal freedom, he refused to abandon his orphans and went with them to the gas chamber in Treblinka.
(kasher). "Proper", "fit", or "ritually correct"; kashrut refers to ritually correct Jewish dietary practices. Traditional Jewish dietary laws are based on biblical legislation. Only land animals that chew the cud and have split hooves (sheep, beef; not pigs, camels) are permitted and must be slaughtered in a special way. Further, meat products may not be eaten with milk products or immediately thereafter. Of sea creatures, only those (fish) having fins and scales are permitted. Fowl is considered a meat food and also has to be slaughtered in a special manner.
See Western Wall.
(Lith. Kaunas) A city in central Lithuania which was the capital of independent Lithuania between 1920 and 1940. In 1940, all of Lithuania was incorporated into the Soviet Union.
Krakow (or Cracow)
This is the architectural gem of a city in southern Poland. The ancient seat of Polish kings, Krakow was designated the capital of Nazi-occupied Poland, the so-called "Generalgouvernement" which was the administrative unit comprising those parts of Poland not incorporated into the German Reich. When German troops attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, 56,000 Jews lived in Krakow, equivalent to the entire Jewish population of Italy. This number swelled as refugees from the countryside sought safety in Krakow. The Jews of Krakow were deported to the death camps in a serious of brutal Aktionen. They had lived in Krakow for seven centuries, and many had become leaders in industry, the arts and science.
A city in the Ukraine located near the Black Sea. By the time of its occupation on August 9, 1942, thousands of refugees had fled to Krasnodar to escape the advancing German army. During its occupation Sonderkommando 10a of Einsatzgruppe D operated in the city murdering thousands of Jews.
The way that Masoretic tradition requires a word in the Hebrew Bible to be read aloud, as opposed to the k'tiv.
Kreisau Circle
The Kreisau Circle (German: Kreisauer Kreis) was the name the Gestapo gave to a group of Germans who met at the Kreisau estate of Helmut James Count of Moltke to plan the new German state that would come to power after a coup had overthrown the Nazi regime.
A city in the Ukraine. It was occupied by the German army on September 9, 1941, and liberated by the Soviet army on November 29, 1942.
German for soldiers or warriors, also reference to prisoners of war in World War II.
(Ger. Kriminalpolizei). The Criminal Police in Nazi Germany.
Kristallnacht (November 9-10, 1938)
(Ger. crystal night, night of broken glass'). Organized destruction of synagogues, Jewish houses and shops, accompanied by arrests of individual Jews, which took place in Germany and Austria under the Nazis on the night of Nov. 9-10, 1938.
A German family firm that manufactured armaments for the Nazis. Krupp extensively used slave labor in its factories and operated a facility at Auschwitz.
The way that Masoretic tradition requires a word in the Hebrew Bible to be written down, as opposed to the k'rei.
Baked pudding-like casserole.
Kugel [bullet] Decree
A decree that directed that every escaped officer and NCO prisoner of war who had not been put to work, with the exception of British and American prisoners of war, should on recapture be handed over to the SIP0 and SD. These escaped officers and NCOs were to be sent to the concentration camp at Mauthausen, to be executed upon arrival, by means of a bullet shot in the neck.
Kuppat Holim
The medical insurance fund of the Histadrut, founded in 1912.
K'vod Hatzibur
(Hebrew) For the honor of the community.

Back to Top