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What is Aramaic?
A. Aramaic (pronounced a-ra-MAY-ik) is an ancient, mostly defunct group of related Semitic dialects originating in, and very similar to, Hebrew. Their...

What is Yiddish?
A. "Yiddish" means "Jewish," as in, "Is Hillary Clinton Jewish?" It is not a national language, but is spoken by the Jewish...

Should I pray in Hebrew, even if I don't understand the language?
If you feel more comfortable praying in your vernacular--go right ahead. If you wish to pray in Hebrew, you may do so provided that you understand the...

Why is the Kol Nidrei Yom Kippur prayer said in Aramaic?
The prayer was instituted while the Jews were living in Babylonia, where the common language was Aramaic. It was important that everyone understand the...

Why have Ashkenazic Jews always conversed in Yiddish?
Yiddish is a hybrid language - a mixture of German and Hebrew, that was unique to European Jews. The midrash (Pessikta Zutrasi) tells us that one of the...

Can I read the Haggadah in English?
Certainly—“Bivadai”! If Hebrew is still very foreign for you, you may read the Haggadah in whatever language you find comfortable. Just...

What does "Oy Vey!" mean?
Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind? Brenda: can you tell me what oy vey! means please Rabbi Shlomo Chein:...

What do so many Jewish names start with 'J', if Hebrew does not have this letter in its alphabet?
Question: If there is no letter 'J' in the Hebrew alphabet, why are there so many words starting with it? Thanks, Joe Answer: That's the...

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