Join Our Mailing List

Sponsor Us!

Glossary:
"C"


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
Cairo Agreement (1970)
Agreement signed on November 3, 1970 between Lebanon and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) after they were expelled from Jordan. The agreement granted the PLO control of Southern Lebanon, access to arms and ability to administer their own affairs and oversee their refugee camps. They used this area as launching grounds for attacking Northern Israel. In addition to killing Israelis, this undermined Lebanese sovereignty and led to civil war.
Cairo Agreement (1994)
Signed in Cairo on May 4, 1994, this was the first of a series of agreements implementing Palestinian autonomy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The agreement demarcated the areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be handed over to the Palestinian National Authority. Israeli troops withdrew from these areas by May 18, 1994.
Cairo Conference
A follow-up meeting in Cairo on December 14, 1977 to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem. Its attendees were representatives from Israel, Egypt, the United States, and the United Nations. However, the conference contained many speeches and no definite decisions.
Cairo Dialogue
Meeting in Cairo amongst leaders of Palestinian factions, including Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, in 2002 due to international pressure in the wake of the suicide attacks against Israel. The talks did not result in a cease fire or any real agreement.
Calendar
In general, Christianity operates on a "solar" calendar based on the relationship between the sun and the earth (365.25 days per year). The main Christian observances are Easter, Pentecost, and Christmas. The Islamic calendar is "lunar," based on the relationship of earth and moon (354 days in a year). Thus, every 100 solar years are equal to about 103 lunar years. Muslim calendric observances include fasting during the month of Ramadan, followed by the feast of fast breaking (id al-fitr), and the time for pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) and associated practices such as the Feast of Sacrifice. Judaism follows a lunar calendar adjusted every three years or so to the solar cycle (by adding a second 12th month)—thus “lunisolar.” The oldest Jewish annual observances are Passover/Pesach, Shavuot, Yom Kippur and Sukkot; other ancient celebrations include Rosh Ha-Shana, Simhat Torah, Hanukkah and Purim. See also B.C.E., CE.
Camp David Accords (1978)
Conducted in secret on the presidential retreat in Maryland, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat concluded two agreements that provided the basis for continuing peace negotiations. “The Framework for Peace in the Middle East” focused on autonomy for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. “The Framework for Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel” paved the way for the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty of 1979. The Accords addressed the definition of a Palestinian, the boundaries of the West Bank, and Jerusalem.
Camp David Talks (2000)
Camp David meeting between U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat in 2000 to try and negotiate the final status of the Oslo Accords. The proposal offered the Palestinians: a future state with East Jerusalem as its capital, 95% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, and the return of a limited amount of refugees to Israel with reparations to be made to the remainder. Clinton and other parties present blamed the failure pf the talks on Arafat's refusal to compromise. The failure of the talks also played a large role in the outbreak of the Second Intifada a few months later. (See also "Clinton Plan").
Canaanites (Hebrews)
A small, anti-Zionist intellectual circle established in 1940 by poet Yonathan Ratosh; has advocated a complete separation between Israelis and Diaspora Jews and the creation of a large Canaanite federation made of Israelis and other Middle-Eastern minorities.
Canada
A Nazi euphemism for the storage areas used for victims' belongings in camps such as Auschwitz.
Candle Shul
Rabbi Nathan Shapiro's Cracow “shtibl” is a three-story white renovated building, built in the 17th century. Legend says that Rabbi Nathan Shapiro, author of “Megalleh Amukot,” a Kabbalistic work, would sit every night, all night by the window, with a candle burning bright. All night he would study. The people in the neighborhood would walk by the shtibl and feel confident, seeing the candle burning brightly. The shtibl became known as the Candle Shul. One night the candle was not burning. The next day, Rabbi Nathan Shapiro was found dead at his study table.
Canon
The collection of books of the Bible recognized as authoritative.
Canonization
Process by which certain literary works of ancient Israel were determined to be divinely inspired and ultimately entered into the Hebrew Bible; the process began in the 7th century B.C.E and was concluded by the 2nd century C.E.
Cantor
(Lat. one who sings) In Judaism, a chanter/singer of liturgical materials in the synagogue; also used similarly in Christian contexts (choir leader, etc.). (See also: hazzan)
Cassuto, Umberto
(1883-1951) Bible scholar; Italy and Israel.
Casuistic
Case law presented in conditional form.
C.E.
(Common era)Term often preferred by Jews and Muslims to refer to the period after the year 0, since “A.D.” (Latin. " anno domini" or “year of the Lord”) refers to Jesus.
Celibacy
The practice of refraining from sexual relationships in the interest of religious purity, known in Judaism among the Essenes and developed extensively in Christianity.
Center for Jewish Culture, Jaegollonlan University
Center established at the Jaegollonlan University, in Cracow, on the site of the oldest synagogue in Poland, to document the history of the Jews in Poland.
Central Office for Reich Security (Reichssicherheitshauptamt)
Headquarters located in Berlin, an administrative office formed in 1939 for the SS and Security Police.
Certificatim
Immigration certificates allocated by the British Mandate Government each year under the quota system.
Chabad
An acronym for "Chochmah (wisdom), Binah (insight), Da'at (knowledge)", the code for the Labuvitch Chassidut philosophy.
Chacham
(Heb/Yid.. Smart) A wise person; Jewish title given to pre-70 CE proto-rabbinic sages/scholars and post-70 CE rabbinic scholars.
Chafetz Chaim
(Heb. Lover of Life) Israel Meir ha-Kohen (1838-1933), rabbinic scholar who became best known by the title of this wrote about proper speech (Hilchot Shmirat Ha'lashon); author of Mishneh B'rurah, a commentary on the Orah Hayyim section of the Shulhan Arukh; Lithuania.
Chag
(Heb. holiday)
Chag Sameach
(Heb. Happy holiday) Traditional holiday greeting.
Chai
(Heb. Life)
Challah
Braided bread roll traditionally eaten on the Sabbath.
Chamberlain, Neville
(1869-1940) British Prime Minister from 1937 to 1940. He concluded the Munich Agreement in 1938 with Adolf Hitler in the mistaken hope that it would bring "peace in our time."
Chamelion Operation
An unsuccessful cover operation launched by the CIA to arrange a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser.
Chametz (chometz, hametz)
(Heb. Leavened food) Food that is forbidden to be eaten on the holiday of Passover.
Chancellery of the Fuhrer
Hitler’s private office, headed by Reich Leader Philipp Bouhler.
Chanukah/Hanukka(h)("Festival of Lights")
(Heb. Dedication) Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the Jerusalem temple and the victory of the Maccabees over the Hellenists circa 167 BCE.
Charoset
A mixture of fruit, wine and nuts eaten at the Passover seder to symbolize mortar used by the Jewish slaves in Egypt.
Chassidut
Movement in Judaism founded by the Baal Shem Tov in 1736. It emphasizes Kabbalah and prayer.
Chatan
(Heb.) Groom.
Chavah
Original woman
Chaver
(Heb.) Friend.
Chayav
One who is obligated (chiyuv=obligation).
CHAZAL
An acronym for blessed memory of the sages - a reference to authoritative opinion in the Talmud.
Chazzan (hazzan)
See cantor.
Cheder
(Heb/Yid. lit. Room) Traditional school of talmudic study which draws its name from the one-room buildings in which the students studied.
Chelev
(Heb. Fat)The fat surrounding organs, as distinguished from the fat surrounding muscles. Forbidden to be eaten under the laws of kashrut.
Chelm
A fictitious town of foolish people told of in Yiddish folklore.
Chelmno
An extermination camp established in late 1941 in the Warthegau region of Western Poland, 47 miles west of Lodz. It was the first camp where mass executions were carried out by means of gas. A total of 320,000 people were exterminated at Chelmno.
Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
This convention prohibited both the use of chemical weapons as stipulated in the 1925 Geneva Protocol as well as their development, production, acquisition, transfer, and stockpiling. The Convention protocols were released on April 29, 1998 and though Israel signed it in 1993 has not ratified it.
Cherem
(Heb.) Excommunication.
Cheshbon Hanefesh
(Heb. Accounting of the soul) Self-examination of your actions' merit, or accounting of your soul's good and bad aspects. (Soul searching)
Chessed
(Heb.) Kindness.
Chevra
(Heb.) Friends; comrades.
Chevra Kadisha
(Heb. Holy society) The group that prepares a body for burial.
Chiliastic
From the Greek for “1000.” Pertaining to the (Christian) belief that Jesus will reign for a thousand years in the end-times; also called millenarian (from the Latin).
Chillul Hashem
(Heb. Desecration of the divine name) Concept that one should not perform a negligible act lest an onlooker associate it with the teachings of Judaism and look down upon God.
Chochmah
(Heb. Wisdom)
Chok
(Heb. Law). Law from the Torah deemed to be without a humanly-discernable rationale (e.g. the red heifer).
Chol HaMoed
(Heb. Ordinary holiday) Semi-festive period that occurs on the festivals of Passover and Sukkot. During this period, one is permitted to perform certain ordinary activities, though a certain level of ritual observance is still maintained.
Chosen People
According to the Torah, Jews were chosen by God to receive the Torah and given the special responsibility (or duty) to be “A Light Unto The Nations,” thereby, spreading the word of God.
Christology
(Gre. christos, anointed) The Christian study of the Christ concept in its various associations and applications (e.g. as historical Jesus, Christ of faith, in his relation to God and to other humans, in his passion and redemptive work, as royal or priestly or prophetic figure, as eschatological agent, etc.).
Chulent
A yummy, warm concoction eaten on Shabbat.
Chumash
(Heb.) The five books of the Torah, bound in one volume (not a scroll).
Chumra
(Talmudic Hebrew) Stringency—custom of a community to observe more strictly.
Chuppah
See huppah.
Churban
(Heb. destruction)
Churchill, Winston
(1875-1965) British Prime Minister, 1940-1945. He succeeded Chamberlain on May 10, 1940, at the height of Hitler's conquest of Western Europe. Churchill was one of the very few Western politicians who recognized the threat that Hitler posed to Europe. He strongly opposed Chamberlain's appeasement policies.
Churchill White Paper
The British Policy statement released on July 1, 1922 that declared land West of the Jordan River to be Jewish but not the whole of the Palestinian Mandate. It also confirmed yet restricted Aliyah to Palestine.
Chutz la'aretz
Outside the land of Israel.
Chutzpa(h)
(Heb/Yid.) Audacity or something outrageous.
Cieszanow
In August 1940 about 1,000 young men from Czestochowa between the ages of 18 and 25 were sent to the forced labor camp in Cieszanow (Lublin Province); almost none survived.
Circassians
Small community of approximately 3,000 people concentrated in two northern Israeli villages. They are Sunni Muslims, although they share neither the Arab origin nor the cultural background of the larger Islamic community. While maintaining a distinct ethnic identity, they participate in Israel's economic and national affairs without assimilating either into Jewish society or into the general Muslim community.
Circumcision
(Lat. To cut around) Removal of a man's foreskin. In Judaism, it is ritually performed when a boy is eight days old in a ceremony called a brit milah,which indicates that the ritual establishes a covenant between God and the individual. In Islam, it is performed at any time up to the age of puberty, depending on the cultural tradition (e.g., birth, 7 years, puberty, etc.). (See also baptism).
Classical Judaism, Christianity, Islam
The forms of the religions that have survived as traditional throughout the centuries. (See also rabbinic, orthodox, and Sunni).
Clauberg, Dr. Carl
SS Physician infamous for his experiments in sterilizing Jewish women at Auschwitz, in Barracks 11.
Clergy
In Christian contexts, the body of ordained men (and in some churches women) in a church, permitted to perform the priestly and/or pastoral duties, as distinct from the laity to whom they minister. In Judaism, the rabbinate (see rabbi). Islam has no formal clergy in this sense.
Clinton Plan
Proposal laid out by the Clinton administration in 2000 after the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Largely based on the Barak proposal of a few months earlier at Camp David, the Clinton Plan offered the Palestinians: a future state with East Jerusalem as its capital, 95% of the West Bank, all of Gaza, reparations to be paid to Palestinian refugees, and joint control of Holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. The plan also allowed for Israeli control of its larger settlements (such as Ma'aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, and Ariel) with modified borders to be agreed upon allowing for equal amounts of land to be allotted to the Palestinians.
Cohen
See kohen.
Cohen, Eli
Israeli spy in Syria during the late 1950's and early 1960's. Posing under the alias "Camile Amin Thabett" he acquired such prominence within the Syrian regime that he was offered a high ranking government position. Later caught while transmitting information back to Israel, he remains considered one of the best spies in history.
Collective Responsibility
The doctrine which asserts that a group is responsible for the actions of its individuals, and can therefore be punished for those actions.
Commandments
(Heb. Mitzvot) According to rabbinic Jewish tradition, there are 613 religious commandments referred to in the Torah (and elaborated upon by the rabbinic sages). Of these, 248 are positive commandments and 365 are negative. The numbers respectively symbolize the fact that divine service must be expressed through all one's bodily parts during all the days of the year. In general, a mitzvah refers to any act of religious duty or obligation; more colloquially, a mitzvah refers to a “good deed.”
Comite de Defense des Juifs
(Fre. Jewish Defense Committee) An underground movement in Belgium established in 1942.
Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS)
The Conservative Movement’s deliberative body, administered by the Rabbinical Assembly, that provides guidance on questions of halacha.
Concentration Camps
Immediately upon their assumption of power on January 30, 1933, the Nazis established concentration camps for the imprisonment of all “enemies” of their regime: actual and potential political opponents (e.g., communists, socialists, monarchists), Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, and other “asocials.” Beginning in 1938, Jews were targeted for internment solely because they were Jews. Before then, only Jews who fit one of the earlier categories were interned in camps. The first three concentration camps established were Dachau (near Munich), Buchenwald (near Weimar) and Sachsenhausen (near Berlin).
Concordat of 20 July 1933
Agreement between the Vatican and German governments which supposedly guaranteed the Church's rights in Germany. In the agreement Hitler guaranteed that Catholic institutions and organizations would be protected under German law. For its' part the Church promised not to meddle in matters of the German State, etc. Hitler did not fully honor his agreement and a number of Catholics were persecuted although senior clerics and the ritual procedures of Catholic practice were, for the most part, left alone. The agreement enabled Hitler to secure a larger percentage of the Catholic vote in 1933.
Confessing Church
The Confessing Church was developed from the "Pastors' Emergency League" an organization founded by Pastor Niemoller, Detrich Bonhoeffer, and other ministers who opposed the "Deutscher Christen" manipulation of Christian teaching. Members of the Confessing Church were initially concerned with the German Christian movement's efforts to aryanize Christian teaching. They opposed efforts by the German Christians to eliminate the Old Testament, block non-aryans from joining the Church Community, etc. Eventually, the Confessing Church (many of its members) publicly opposed the regime's political and racial policies. Many lost their lives as a result of their opposition.
Confirmation
A ceremony found in both the Christian religion and in some branches of the Jewish religion. A sacrament of the Catholic Church, it marks the admission of the person to full membership in the church (takes place between ages 7-14). A rite of passage in Judaism, confirmation usually marks the end of formal religious school training (age 15-16), and often occurs around the time of Shavuot. Confirmation in Judaism was invented in the 19th century by the Reform movement as a replacement for the Bar Mitzvah.
Conservative Judaism
A modern development in Judaism, reacting to early Jewish Reform movements in an attempt to retain clearer links to classical Jewish law while at the same time adapting it to modern situations. Its scholarly center in the U.S. is the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
Constantinople Convention
Signed by Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, and the Ottoman Empire on October 29, 1888, the convention demanded free access for all interested parties to the Suez Canal. Egypt recognized the convention, however, blockaded it against Israel before and after it nationalized it in 1956.
Contra fact
A musical technique that places new lyrics into melodies of old songs. This technique was used during the Holocaust, when lyrics were being written faster than composers could generate the music.
Conversion, Convert
(Lat. To turn around). In general religious usage, the act of changing allegiance from one group to another.
Covenant
A pact between two parties. The major covenants in Jewish scriptures are God's covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15), and the Sinai/Moses covenant (Exodus 19-24) between God and Israel. In Judaism, the covenant (Heb. "brit") is a major theological concept referring to the eternal bond between God and the people of Israel grounded in God's gracious and steadfast concern (hesed) that calls for the nation's obedience to the divine commandments (mitzvot) and instruction (torah). Christians believe that God made a “new covenant” (rendered as “new testament” in older English) with the followers of Jesus in the last times, superseding the “old covenant” (thus, “old testament”) with Moses at Sinai.
Cracow/Krakow
City in southern Poland, one of the most important for Jews from the 14th century. In 1495, Kazimierz was created, later becoming a part of Cracow. In 1939, 60,000 Jews lived in Cracow in 1939, but only about 4,000 survived the Holocaust.
Creed(s)
A general term (from Latin) for “belief” declarations or summaries such as the Christian apostles' or Nicene creeds, or in Judaism the shema affirmation, or in Islam the shahada kalima).
Crematorium
A building which housed ovens used for burning bodies in extermination camps during the Holocaust.
Crown
Decorative ornament traditionally placed atop a Torah scroll as a sign of respect and grandeur.
Crusader Period
In 1092 Pope Urban II called on Christians everywhere to recover the Holy Land and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher from Muslim rule. Mobs of enthusiastic peasants called the Crusaders moved towards the Land of Israel, destroying Jewish communities on their way. In 1099 they seized Jerusalem and massacred most of its non-Christian population.
Cult
A general term for formal aspects and interrelationships of religious observance, often as focused on a particular phenomenon (e.g., the “temple cult,” the “cult of saints”).
Cuneiform
Style of writing used in ancient Mesopotamia, mostly on clay tablets and seals; the usual means by which Akkadian was written.
Cyclon B
Crystalline hydrogen cyanide used in gas chambers during the Holocaust.
Cyprus
British-occupied island in the Mediterranean that served as a detention center for Jews attempting to enter the British Mandate of Palestine “illegally”.
Czech Deal
Egypt’s arm deal with Czechoslovakia in 1955 that initiated the involvement of the Soviet Union in Middle Eastern politics as well as its pro-Arab stance. This marked the largest military transaction in the world during its time. The ensuing Israeli anxiety and desire to topple Nasser before he could a military threat led to the Suez War.
Czerniakow, Adam
(1880-1942) Head of the Warsaw Judenrat. He committed suicide on July 23, 1942, to protest the killing of Jewish children. His diary consisted of 1,009 pages in 8 notebooks, from Sept. 6,1939, until the day of his death.
Czestochowa Ghetto
Established on April 9, 1941, it was sealed off on August 23, 1941. The ghetto population suffered from overcrowding, hunger and epidemics. On September 23, 1942 a large scale deportation (Aktion) began. By October 5, 1942, about 39,000 people had been deported to Treblinka extermination camp, while 2,000 had been executed on the spot.

Back to Top