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Glossary:
"Y"


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Yad
(Heb. hand) Hand-shaped pointer used while reading from Torah scrolls.
Yad Vashem
Israeli authority and museum for commemorating the Holocaust in the Nazi era and Jewish resistance and heroism at that time.
Yahrzeit
(Yiddish, year-time) Anniversary of a death; a 24-hour candle lit to commemorate the death anniversary of a close relative, also lit on holy days when Yizkor (prayer of remembrance) is recited.
Yalkut Shimoni
A 13th-century midrashic anthology on the Bible attributed to a certain Simeon; Germany.
Yam Hamelakh
The Salt Sea; the Dead Sea.
Yam Kineret
Lake Tiberias.
Yamim Nor'aim
Days of Awe. The Hebrew name for the High Holy Days.
Yamit
The main Jewish city in occupied northern Sinai; established in 1975 and evacuated in April 1983 in compliance with the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
Yannai, Alexander
The Hasmonean King of Judea (103-76 BCE). Yannai expanded his kingdom over the whole coast region from Mount Carmel to the Egyptian border. Yannai then became unpopular, and during years of unrest attacks from the Nabateans caused him to lose much of his gains. Yannai eventually became popular again and regained part of the territories back, including the Golan and the eastern bank of the Jordan.
Yarmulke
See kippah.
Yasher Koach
Used idiomatically to express praise or thanks for serving in a religious or ceremonial role. Implies “may your strength continue, go on straight,” i.e., “You done good! Do it many times more!”
Yated Neeman
Haredi daily controlled by Rabbi Eliezer Shach.
Yediot Aharonot
Latest News; mass-circulation newspaper.
Yehuda
Judea; southern part of the West Bank.
Yellow Badge
Distinctive sign which, by Nazi order, was compulsorily worn by Jews.
Yerida
Going down; emigration from Israel.
Yesha
Yesha is the Hebrew acronym for Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yehuda, Shomron, Aza), also referred to as “the territories.” The Yesha Council was founded in the late 1970s as the successor to Gush Emunim, the organization that led the settling of Jews in the territories following the Six-Day War. Since its inception, the Yesha Council's primary goal has been to strengthen and increase the Jewish presence in the territories. The Council represents all of Israeli cities, towns and villages in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Its plenum is comprised of 25 mayors and 10 other community leaders.
Yesh G'vul
(Heb. There Is a Boundary) Peace group whose members refuse to perform army service in Lebanon or occupied lands.
Yeshiva(h)
(pl. yeshivot). A Jewish rabbinic academy of higher learning. See also beit midrash.
Yeshivot Hesder
A Zionist yeshiva whose students combine rabbinical studies and military service.
Yetzer
A technical Hebrew term for human "inclination" to do good (yetzer ha-tov) or to do evil (yetzer ha-ra).
YHWH (Yahweh)
The sacred name of God in Jewish scriptures and tradition; also known as the tetragrammaton. Since Hebrew was written without vowels in ancient times, the four consonants YHWH contain no clue to their original pronunciation. They are generally rendered “Yahweh” in contemporary scholarship. In traditional Judaism, the name is not pronounced, but Adonai (“Lord”) or something similar is substituted. In most English versions of the Bible the tetragrammaton is represented by "LORD" (or less frequently, “Jehovah”). Yiddish (from German “Juedisch” or Jewish). The vernacular of Ashkenazic Jews; it is a combination of several languages, especially Hebrew and German, written in Hebrew script.
Yiches
Family status or prestige.
Yichud
A short time of seclusion immediately following the marriage ceremony that the bride and groom spend alone together.
Yid
(pl. Yidden). A Jew, usually considered a derogatory term when used by non-Jews.
Yiddish
Uses the same alphabet as Hebrew but is a blend of Hebrew and several European languages, primarily German. Yiddish was the vernacular of East European and Russian Jews.
Yiddishkeit
Jewishness.
Yiftach Operation
On April 30, 1948, Jewish forces launched an operation to capture Tsfat. On May 11, they captured the city, resulting in a mass Arab exodus.
Yigdol/Yigdal
(from Heb., to be great; thence “Great is he”). A hymn/chant/poem from the 11th century or earlier, frequently found at the beginning or end of the Jewish prayer book (siddur). Also found as an adopted Christian hymn.
Yishuv
The Jewish community of Palestine. The pre-Zionist community is generally designated the “old yishuv,” and the community evolving from 1880 the “new yishuv.”
Yisrael Saba.
(Heb. Grandfather of Israel) The stereotype of the traditional Jew and Judaism.
Yizkor
(“Remembrance”) It is the name of the Memorial Service on Yom Kippur, and a prayer in that service in which Jews specify those whom they are remembering.
Yoav Operation
Ignoring the provisions of the second truce, the Egyptians denied Jewish convoys passage through the Hatta-Karatiya gap in their line. In addition, they captured positions beyond the truce demarcation lines and attacked several IDF posts that covered the pass. Following an Egyptian raid on inter-kibbutz communications routes and the firing on an Israeli convoy on October 15, the Israel Army and Air force took the offensive and launched Operation “Yoav.” In seven days they succeeded in opening the road to the Negev and capturing its capital, Beersheba.
Yom Ha-Atzmut
Israeli Independence Day.
Yom Hashishi
(Heb. Friday) Weekly commercial haredi newspaper.
Yom Ha-Shoah
Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Yom Ha-Zikkaron
Israeli Memorial Day.
Yom Kippur
(Heb. Day of Atonement) Annual day of fasting and atonement, occurring in the fall on Tishri 10 (just after Rosh Hashanah); the most solemn and important occasion of the Jewish religious year. See also calendar.
Yom Kippur War
In October 1973, Syrian and Egyptian forces, assisted by other Arab nations, launched a surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jews. Although placed on the defensive for the first two days, Israel eventually was able to counter-attack and repulse the Arab invaders. An internationally-brokered cease-fire was established after three weeks of fighting.
Yom Yerushalayim
Holiday celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem in the hands of the modern state of Israel.
Yontif
Jewish holiday.
Yotzei
(Heb. gone out) One who has properly fulfilled an obligation.
Youth Aliyah
Organization founded in 1932 by Henrietta Szold to rescue Jewish children and young people and give them care and education in Eretz Israel.

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