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Northeastern neighborhood of Jerusalem established in 1975 and located in the West Bank. Although approved by the Knesset, the neighborhood has received much criticism as it is also the largest settlement in the West Bank.
- On May 13, 1974 three members of the PLO infiltrated the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot where they took 85 teachers and school children hostage. The PLO terrorists demanded the release of 20 prisoners held in Israeli jails. Israel conceded to their demands, but later held a rescue operation in which 21 children, all three terrorists, and 1 Israeli soldier were killed.
- (Heb. believer)
- The Labor alignment.
- Transition camp; temporary settlement for newcomers in Israel during the period of mass immigration following 1948.
- Educational center for religious Zionism.
- (from Heb., evening). Jewish synagogue evening prayer
or service. See also liturgy.
- Perspective or View; popular television news show.
- (Heb. flood) Referring also to the Great Flood.
- See Hasmoneans, hasidim, Hanukkah.
- Maccabee Operation
- Israeli military operation carried out on May 1, 1948 to secure safe passage along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem road.
Maccabi World Union
- International Jewish sports organization, founded in eastern Europe,
at a time when Jews were barred from other sports organizations,
with the mission to further physical fitness among Jewish youth
as a prerequisite for building a national homeland.
MacDonald White Paper (alt. "The White Paper")
- Passed by the British on May 17, 1939 during the beginning of the Holocaust and in response to the realization that the British had made contradictory commitments to the Jews and Arabs of the Palestine Mandate; the MacDonald White Paper placed severe restrictions on
Jewish immigration and land purchases in Palestine and called for the establishment of a single binational state. The Zionists saw the White Paper as an abandonment of previous British commitments and famously vowed to "Fight the war (WWII) as if there were no White Paper, and fight the White Paper as if there were no war".
- Stringent; one who observes a chumrah (stringency).
- Jewish prayer Book used during the High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and on Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot.
- The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the second holiest Jewish site, the traditional burial place of the nation's biblical forefathers.
- The Jewish underground of Gush Emunim, uncovered in 1984.
- The High Holy Day prayer book (as distinct from the Siddur, the
Shabbat and daily prayer book).
- Nazi plan to evacuate 4,000,000 Jews to Madagascar over a period
of four years. It was taken up in the summer of 1940, but shelved
February 10, 1942, after the Nazis decided to carry out the Final
Madrid Peace Conference
- Conference sponsored and organized in 1991 by the U.S. and Russia
in the aftermath of the Gulf War, in which Israel and its Arab neighbors
commenced bilateral and multilateral negotiations on a wide variety
of matters, ranging from peace to economic issues to water. This
was the first time that Arab countries other than Egypt met Israel
before the world. Today's ongoing peace process between Israel and
the PLO, Jordan, and Syria has origins in the Madrid Peace Conference.
- Acronym for Mifleget Dati Leumi (National Religious Party).
- The aliyah consisting of the last few lines of the Torah reading,
or the person assigned that aliyah. The person assigned the maftir
aliyah also chants the Haftorah.
- (Heb., a speaker). A kabbalistic notion of how the
holy spirit is mediated to the mystic; later meant a preacher among
the eighteenth-century Hasidim.
- Masha'al Affair
- Failed assassination attempt against Khalid Masha'al, Hamas political bureau chief in Amman, Jordan on September 25, 1997. Two Israeli agents were caught with fake Canadian passports. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to supply the antidote for the lethal poison in exchange for the release of the captured agents. The incident strained Israeli relations with both Jordan and Canada.
- (Heb., shield of David). The distinctive six-pointed
Jewish star, used especially since the 17th century.
Magen David Adom
- Red Shield of David; Israeli equivalent of the Red Cross.
- Megillat Esther
- Story of Purim written on a scroll of parchment that was incorporated into the Tanakh.
Mahleket Kiddush Hashem
- “Sanctification of the Name of God Department.” Reference to religious supporters of “Peace Now” who appear at demonstrations; often from Oz/Netivot.
Maimonides, or Moses ben Maimon (1135-1204)
- A major medieval rabbi, physician, scientist, and philosopher,
known by the acronym RaMBaM (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon). Born in Spain,
Maimonides fled from persecution to Morocco and finally settled
in Egypt. His Major works include a legal commentary on the Mishnah,
a law code called Mishnah Torah, and the preeminent work
of medieval Jewish rational philosophy, The Guide of the Perplexed.
Majdanek (also Maidanek)
- Mass murder camp in eastern Poland. At first a labor camp for
Poles and a POW camp for Russians, it was turned into a gassing
center for Jews. Majdanek was liberated by the Red Army in July
1944, but not before 250,000 men, women, and children had lost their
- Acronym for Mifleget HaKommunistit HaIsraelit; Israel Community Party
- (Heb. messenger) Usually used in the sense of a messenger from God, such as an angel.
Malbim, Meir Loeb ben Yehiel Michael
- (1809-1879) Rabbi, preacher, and Bible commentator; Eastern Europe.
Malchut Yisrael (The Kingdom of Israel)
- An ultranationalist ideology that draws its inspiration from the biblical David kingdom, and calls for the establishment of the jewish state in all the territories promised by God to Abraham.
- Hebrew acronym for “Institutes for Jewish-Zionist Education.” Teaches Jewish identity to adults.
- (Heb. queen)
- A person born from a prohibited union (i.e., from an incestuous
or adulterous union).
- Responsibility for the administration of Palestine conferred on
Britain by the League of Nations in 1922.
- The Sefer Torah is covered with a fabric "tunic" called the mantle
to protect it; it is often decorated or inscribed.
- Israel's major labor party, Mapai (Mifleget Poalei Eretz Israel — Land of Israel Worker’s Party), was established in 1930 as a Zionist-socialist party and served as the dominant political party in the pre-state and early post-state years. The left-of-center Mapai led every coalition and owned the Premiership from 1948 until the party merged into the Labor alignment in 1968.
- A pioneering. left-wing labor-Zionist Israel party, founded in
1948, when Ha-Shomer ha-Za'ir merged with Ahdut ha-Avodah-Po'alei
- (master of the place). The local rabbi, whose decision
carries the force of law in that locality.
- A 2nd century Christian (and his followers) who was considered
the first heretic by his opponents because of certain dualistic
and gnostic ideas and his call for a severing of Christianity from
its Jewish and First Testament roots.
- A German prisoner of war camp for sailors.
- Members of the largest Uniate church in the Arab world. The Uniate
churches at various periods accepted the Vatican's authority but
retained a measure of autonomy. The Maronites who migrated to northern
Lebanon from inland Syria drew closer to Latin Europe and to Catholicism
after the Crusades. By the eighteenth century the Maronites' growing
numbers, early modernization, and effective church organization
and leadership made them the leading community in Mount Lebanon.
The same century saw the community's southward expansion and the
emergence of a proto-national consciousness in its ranks.
- An old Spanish term meaning "swine," used to execrate
medieval Spanish Jews who converted to Christianity but secretly
kept their Judaism.
- (Greek, witness). A general term for persons who endure
persecution, usually leading to death, for the sake of their religious
"witness" (profession, position).
- Jewish fortress of ancient Palestine situated on a butte west
of the Dead Sea; the last stronghold of the Zealots who committed
suicide rather than surrender to the Romans.
- The conviction that it is preferable to fight to the end rather
than to surrender and acquiesce to the loss of independent statehood.
- (Aramaic; volume) There are sixty three volumes of the Talmud.
- Failed assassination attempt against Khalid Masha'al, Hamas political bureau chief in Amman, Jordan. Two Israeli agents were caught with fake Canadian passports. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to supply the antidote for the lethal poison in exchange for the release of the captured agents.
- Ritual supervisors of kashrut who watch/supervise on
the premises for dietary supervision of ingredients, food preparation,
serving, dishes and cutlery, etc..
- See messiah.
- (Heb., "the enlightened ones"). Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century
Jews who engaged in secular rationalistic studies and facilitated
the acculturation of Jews to Western society; members of the haskalah.
Masorati (pl. masoratim)
- Traditional Jews, as opposed to “secular” or “religious” Jews in contemporary Israeli parlance.
Masoretes, Masoretic text
- Derived from masorah, meaning "tradition";
the Masoretes were the rabbis in ninth-century Palestine who sought
to preserve the traditional text of the Bible (hence called the
Masoretic text), which is still used in contemporary synagogues.
The Masoretes were scholars who encouraged Bible study and attempted
to achieve uniformity by establishing rules for correcting the text
in matters of spelling, grammar and pronunciation. Masoretic (adj.) means that something is in accordance with the masorah.
- Jews in Israel who are traditionally observant but not Orthodox.
- Jewish unleavened bread used at Passover.
- A camp for men, opened in August 1938, near Linz in northern Austria,
Mauthausen was classified by the SS as a camp of utmost severity.
Conditions there were brutal, even by concentration camp standards.
Nearly 125,000 prisoners of various nationalities were either worked
or tortured to death at the camp before liberating American troops
arrived in May 1945.
- (Heb. water)
- Congratulations and good luck.
- Division; a barrier separating men from women in the synagogue.
- (Heb., scroll). Usually refers to the biblical scroll
of Esther read on the festival of Purim.
- Scroll on which the Declaration of Independence of the State of
Israel is inscribed, proclaimed in Tel Aviv on the 5th of Iyar 5708
(May 15, 1948).
- Separation of men from women in an Orthodox synagogue.
- Torah commentary by “the Izbicer Rav,” the Hasidic master Mordecai Yosef Leiner (1802-1851); Poland.
- This autobiographical book (My Struggle) by Hitler was written
while he was imprisoned in the Landsberg fortress after the "Beer-Hall
Putsch" in 1923. In this book, Hitler propounds his ideas,
beliefs, and plans for the future of Germany. Everything, including
his foreign policy, is permeated by his "racial ideology."
The Germans, belonging to the "superior" Aryan race, have
a right to "living space" (Lebensraum) in the
East, which is inhabited by the "inferior" Slavs. Throughout,
he accuses Jews of being the source of all evil, equating them with
Bolshevism and, at the same time, with international capitalism.
Unfortunately, those people who read the book (except for his admirers)
did not take it seriously but considered it the ravings of a maniac.
(see Hitler, Adolf).
- Customs duty.
- Sources of Fountains; Israel's semiprivate water engineering company.
- (Heb., work).
- A teacher, especially of elementary Hebrew.
Menachem Mendel of Kotsk
- (1787-1859) Hasidic master; Poland.
Mendelssohn, Moses (1729-86)
- Important German Jewish thinker whose ideas helped lay the base
for reform Judaism (see haskalah).
Mengele, Josef (1911-1978?)
- SS physician at Auschwitz, notorious for pseudo-medical experiments,
especially on twins and Gypsies. He selected new arrivals
by simply pointing to the right or the left, thus separating those
considered able to work from those who were not. Those too weak
or too old to work were sent straight to the gas chambers, after
all their possessions, including their clothes, were taken for resale
in Germany. After the war, he spent some time in a British internment
hospital but disappeared, went underground, escaped to Argentina,
and later to Paraguay, where he became a citizen in 1959. He was
hunted by Interpol, Israeli agents, and Simon Wiesenthal. In 1986,
his body was found in Embu, Brazil.
- Jewish candelabrum with special religious significance; a nine-branched
menorah is used at Hanukkah, while the seven- branched was used
in the ancient Temple.
- A special person with worth and dignity. One who can be respected.
- Human Horror. When the Miedzyrzec transit ghetto was
liquidated, the German police gave it this nickname.
- Left of center Israeli party, whose leaders include Shulamit Aloni
and Yossi Sarid, that has called for the dismantling of Jewish settlements
in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The party was part of the Labor-led
coalition government and is now in the opposition.
- (Heb., chariot). The "chariot vision" was
an integral element of mysticism signifying a vision of divinity.
Merkaz Harav (The Rabbi's Center)
- A Jerusalem Zionist yeshiva founded by Rabbi Avraham Itzhak Hacohen Kook, subsequently led by his son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook; the school and the source of inspiration of all the founders of Gush Emunim.
- Spiritual Center; the Mizrahi movement.
- ("anointed one"). Ancient priests and kings (and sometimes
prophets) of Israel were anointed with oil. In early Judaism, the
term came to mean a royal descendant of the dynasty of David who
would restore the united kingdom of Israel and Judah and usher in
an age of peace, justice and plenty; the redeemer figure. The concept
developed in many directions over the centuries. The messianic age
was believed by some Jews to be a time of perfection of human institutions;
others believed it to be a time of radical new beginnings, a new
heaven and earth, after divine judgment and destruction. The title
came to be applied to Jesus/Joshua of Nazareth by his followers,
who were soon called "Christians" in Greek and Latin usage.
Jesus is also Messiah in Islam (e.g., Quran 3.45).
Messirut Hanefesh (Ultimate devotion)
- A major Gus Emunim virtue which implies one's readiness to make immense personal sacrifices.
- Masada (from the Greek name) - a mountain fortress overlooking
the shores of the Dead Sea where Jewish insurgents held out for
three years against the Romans after the fall of Jerusalem in 70
C.E. and then took their own lives. Metzada has remained a symbol
of Jewish heroism.
- Literally “Land Between the Rivers;” modern-day Iraq; the land of early Sumerian civilization as well as the later Babylonian.
- Dance by the bride and groom in honor of the occasion of the parents
marrying off the last child in the family.
- (pl. mezuzot; "doorpost"). A parchment scroll
with selected Torah verses (Deuteronomy 6.4-9; 11.13-21) placed
in a container and affixed to the exterior doorposts (at the right
side of the entrance) of observant Jewish homes (see Deuteronomy
6.1-4), and sometimes also to interior doorposts of rooms. The word shaddai (almighty) usually is inscribed on the back of
- "The One who blessed"; prayer recited for those who have an aliyah
and read the Torah.
- Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Economic Summits
- Held to complement the political aspects of the peace process and to facilitate Israel’s relationship with the Middle East, these economic summits were held four times but eventually lacked momentum due to the failing peace process.
- Middle East Peace Conference Proposal
- Israel proposed to the Untied Nations General Assembly a plan on December 6, 1976 calling for a peace conference to resume negotiations toward the implementation of Resolutions 242 and 338. The proposal called for the participation of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Syria as well as the United States and the Soviet Union. Israel withdrew its proposal at the insistence of the PLO’s participation by members of the Non-aligned Movement
- (pl. midrashim). From darash, "to inquire,"
whence it comes to mean exposition (of scripture). Refers
to the commentary literature developed in classical
Judaism that attempts to interpret Jewish scriptures in a thorough
manner. Literary Midrash may focus either on halaka, directing
the Jew to specific patterns of religious practice, or on (h)aggada,
dealing with theological ideas, ethical teachings, popular philosophy,
imaginative exposition, legend, allegory, animal fablesthat
is, whatever is not halaka.
- A 13th-century anonymous Midrash on the Torah; Yemen.
Midrash Lekah Tov
- An 11th-century Midrash on the Torah and on the Five Megillot (Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther) by Tobias ben Eliezer; Balkans.
- A collection of midrashim on the Psalms, containing material spanning many centuries.
- A 10-part set of 5th and 6th-century collections of homiletical and narrative material, covering the Torah and the Five Megillot (Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Esther).
- Midrashic collection, composed perhaps in the 10th-century.
- A 12th-century midrashic collection.
- Bomb shelter.
Mikvah, Miqvah, Mikveh, Mikva, Mikve
- A Jewish communal bath for washing away spiritual impurity by
- Hope of Israel; agricultural school established in Jaffa in 1870.
- The underground bunker from which the battle of the Warsaw Ghetto
Uprising was launched, and in which Mordecai Anielewicz was killed.
A monument stands today on top of a pile of rubble.
- (Yiddish: dairy). Used to describe kosher foods that contain dairy
products and therefore cannot be eaten with meat. See also Kashrut.
Milhemet ain brayra
- A war without choice.
- War of Attrition. In 1968 Egypt declared a war of attrition against
Israel, which came to an end with the renewal of the cease-fire
in August, 1970.
Milhemet Yom Ha-Deen
- The War of the Day of Judgment; the October 1973 War.
- Military Government
- Israel established a military government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip after the Six Day War in 1967. The governor was responsible for security and civic administration.
- From the Latin for "1000" (see also chiliastic). Having
to do with the expected millennium, or thousand-year reign of Christ
prophesied in the New Testament book of Revelation (the Apocalypse),
a time in which the world would be brought to perfection. Millenarian
movements often grow up around predictions that this perfect time
is about to begin. See eschatology.
- Military reserves.
- (pl. minim). A heretic, sectarian, or schismatic, according
to classical Judaism. The term was applied both to Christians, especially
Christian Jews, and to people of "gnostic" tendencies,
- (from Heb. for afternoon sacrifice). Afternoon prayers in Jewish
- Local custom.
- A quorum of ten Jews (for Orthodox Jews, ten males) above age
thirteen necessary for public services and certain other religious
ceremonies to be considered valid.
- A general term for special events that seem inexplicable by normal
(rational) means. Miracle reports are frequent in Jewish and Christian
scriptures and early traditions, while in Islam, the only miracle
associated with Muhammad is said to be the reception and transmission
of the Quran.
- Biblical Hebrew term for “sanctuary.” Modern Hebrew term for “official building,” as in mishkan Hanasi (president's mansion) and mishkan HaKnesset” (Knesset building).
- Gifts of food exchanged during Purim.
- (Heb., teaching). The digest of the recommended Jewish
oral halakha as it existed at the end of the 2nd century
and was collated, edited and revised by Rabbi Judah the Prince.
The code is divided into six major units and sixty-three minor ones.
The work is the authoritative legal tradition of the early sages
and is the basis of the legal discussions of the Talmud. See also pilpul.
- Maimonides' codification of Jewish law.
- (pl. mishpatim). Law from the Torah that can be rationalized.
- Those who oppose the hasidim.
Misnaged (pl. misnagdim)
- LIterally, “opponent,” originally defined those opposed to hasidism. Currently refers to religious, generally haredi Ashkenazi Jews who are not hasidim.
- Ministry of Absorption.
- The report published on May 20, 2001, by a fact-finding committee
to investigate the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The report made recommendations
to both sides to bring peace.
- (pl. mitnagaim, opposer(s)). Traditionalist
and rationalistic Jewish opponents of eighteenth-century Jewish
- Head covering worn by the Kohen Ha Gadol (the High Priest) in
the Temple in ancient Israel.
- (pl. mitzvot, "commandment, obligation"). A
ritual or ethical duty or act of obedience to God's will. See also
- A chasidic custom in which the relatives dance with the bride.
- Mixed Armistice Commissions
Commissions created to maintain and coordinate the armistice Agreements Israel established with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria in 1949, after Israel’s victorious War of Independence.
- Religious Zionist movement founded in 1902 to encourage Zionism
among Orthodox Jews and promote religious and cultural ideas among
its constituents. Its motto was: The Land of Israel for the
people of Israel according to the Torah of Israel.
- The integration of different Jewish communities into Israeli society.
- Midrash quoting the early Sages on the Book of Exodus, compiled c. 400 C.E. There is a M'khilta of Rabbi Ishmael and one of Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai.
- A 14th-century ethical treatise by Isaac Aboab; Spain.
- A general term used in discussions of religion to indicate the
perspective that focuses on modern applicability of religious principles.
See also liberal, conservative.
Moetzet Yesha (Yesha Council)
- The association of the local councils of the jewish settlers in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.
- The person who performs a circumcision at a Brit.
- Birthplace and homeland; also a right-wing political party.
- A homemade grenade consisting of a flammable liquid encased in
a bottle. First used by Finnish soldiers to resist the Soviet invasion
in 1940 and were named in honor of the Soviet foreign minister.
- The belief in one God.
- “Heritage.” A political party similar to Tehiya (q.v.), except that it is strictly religious.
- One of the heroes of the story of Purim.
- Morrison-Grady Plan
- A new plan in 1946 after the failure to implement the plan of the Anglo-American Committee that created semiautonomous Arab and Jewish cantons. The plan turned the mandate into a trusteeship and divided Jewish and Arab districts. The plan collapsed after President Truman decided to stick to his earlier demand for the immediate admission of 100,000 Jewish refugees from Europe to Palestine.
- The great biblical personality (c. thirteenth century B.C.E.)
who is credited with leading the people of Israel out of Egyptian
bondage and teaching them the divine laws at Sinai. He is also described
as first of the Jewish prophets. Throughout Jewish history he is
the exalted man of faith and leadership without peer.
- Moses Operation
- The code name for the airlift of 7,800 black Jews from Ethiopia to Israel, rescuing them from famine and oppression. The operation began on November 18, 1984, ended six weeks later on January 5, 1985.
- Cooperative agricultural settlement in Israel. See moshav
- ("workers' moshav"). Agricultural village in Israel
whose inhabitants possess individual homes and holdings but cooperate
in the purchase of equipment, the sale of produce, mutual aid, etc.
- (collective moshav). Agricultural village in Israel
whose members possess individual homesteads but where the agriculture
and economy are conducted as a collective unit.
- Earliest type of Jewish village in modern Israel in which farming
is conducted on individual farms, mostly on privately owned land.
- Arab (Moslem) tribes conquered the land of Israel in 636 CE, soon
after establishment of Islam. Jewish settlement in Jerusalem resumed;
later the Jewish community diminished under burden of new taxes
- (Heb. Hamossad Lemode’in Ule’tafkidim Meyuchadim)
The Israeli government's intelligence agency. Like the CIA, it uses
agents to collect intelligence, conduct covert operations and counterterrorism.
Its primary focus is on terrorist organizations and the Arab nations.
- The blessing recited before eating bread.
- (Heb., Har Herzl). Israel's National Military Cemetery,
site of the graves of Theodore Herzl, David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak
Rabin and other famous Jews as well as Israeli soldiers.
- Mubarak Plan (1985)
- In 1985, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt called for direct negotiations between Israel and Jordan and the Palestinians. The talks never occurred because of Israeli opposition to the participation of the PLO.
- Mubarak Plan (1989)
- In 1989, Mubarak came up with a new plan to get Israel and the PLO to negotiate peace. The new plan focused on the Palestinian elections and required Israel to accept the outcome and freeze settlement activities and entering the West Bank and Gaza Strip on election day. Arafat accepted the plan and Israel rejected it.
- Started at the 1991 Madrid Conference. It consisted of five working
groups to deal with the major issues in the Middle East including:
water, security, refugees, environment and economic development.
These talks were held until 1996.
- Agreement made at Munich between Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini,
and Daladier on Sept. 10, 1938, providing for the cession of the
Sudetenland by Czechoslovakia to Germany.
- An additional prayer service for Sabbaths and holidays.
Muslim Brothers (Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimun)
- An organization started in 1929 by Hassan Al-Banna to overthrow
the secular government in Egypt and return to a fundamentalist Islamic
government. The organization grew and spread to other Arab countries
and is responsible for other Islamic organizations that have emerged
Muslim-Christian Association (MCA)
- Started in Jaffa in November 1918 as an attempt to express a Palestinian
national identity and to oppose Zionism. Soon became a country-wide
network with headquarters in Jerusalem.
- (Ger.) Nazi camp slang word for prisoner on the brink of death.
- Arab-speaking, old established Jewish communities and residents
in the Middle East.
- Mother's crossPromoted Aryan mothers to produce more children.
For every 4 kids, a mother received a bronze cross, every 6 she
received a silver, and for 8 kids, she got a gold.
- Designation used for a group of ancient Greco-Roman religions
characterized by an emphasis on a central "mystery" (often
concerning fertility and immortality). In many ways, both early
Judaism and early Christianity include characteristics of such "mysteries."
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- (adj. mystical; from Greek for initiant into religious
mysteries). A vaguely used term to indicate certain
types of behavior or perspective that goes beyond the rational in
the quest of what is considered to be the ultimate in religious
experience (often described as union or direct communion with deity).
See also kabalah, gnostic.