Tradition & Innovation

Glossary beginning with B

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Coming of age, one responsible for the commandments. At the age of thirteen for a boy and twelve for a girl, s/he obtains the age of Jewish majority and is obligated to all the commandments. Usually celebrated with an aliyah to the Torah and other festivities. In many communities both bar and bat mitzvah are celebrated at age 13. The plural of bar mitzvah is b'nei mitzvah. The plural of bat mitzvah is b'not mitzvah.

Barukh Ha-Shem

''Blessed is the Name [of God]." Often abbreviated as B''H. Examples of usage: ''My child is well, B''H;'' even as a stand-alone response to, ''How are you?'' B''H!

Synonyms: Baruch Ha-Shem, Baruch Hashem

Lit. Covering (Yiddish)

The act of veiling the bride by the groom.

Synonyms: Badecken
Beit Din

Rabbinic court consisting of three rabbis or learned members of the Jewish community.

Synonyms: Beyt Din, Bet Din
Beit Hamikdash

The Holy Temple which stood in ancient times in Jerusalem.

Synonyms: Beyt Hamikdash, Bet Hamikdash

Lit. To bless.

From the Yiddish ''bentshn.''

Synonyms: Bensch, Bench

Lit. Spices

Used in havdalah ceremony marking the end of Shabbat as a reminder of the sweetness of Shabbat.

Synonyms: Bisamim


Synonyms: Beitzah

In the Bible, the Israelites brought the first fruits (bikkurim) of their harvest to the Temple in baskets for the holiday of Shavuot.


The stage or platform on which the person leading prayers stands.

Synonyms: bima
Birkat Hamazon

Grace after meal: traditional versions include four blessings for the food, the land, Jerusalem and God's goodness. There also are many abbreviated or alternative versions.


A blessing

Synonyms: Brachah, Bracha, Berakhah, Brokhe, Brakhah

Lit. Covenant.

Judaism is defined by the covenant - the contract between the Jewish people and God. God promises to make us abundant and to give us the land of Israel; we promise to obey God's commandments. This covenant begins with Abraham and is reiterated throughout the Torah. A brit milah, literally a covenant of circumcision, is often simply called a brit or bris.

Synonyms: Bris
Brit Milah

Lit. Covenant of circumcision.

As a sign of the covenant, God commanded Abraham to circumcise himself and his descendants. An infant boy is circumcised on the eighth day of his life, often at home or in synagogue. A festive meal follows.


Grandmother [Yiddish].

Synonyms: Bubby, Bubbie, Bubba

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