Glossary to "Ashkenazi Amsterdam in the Eighteenth Century"

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O
P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

- A -

[hebrew]: initials of Aw Beth Din = Head of Rabbinical.
generally  additional function of Chiefrabbi.
as in use with tnaim acharonim/rishonim [see there]: number, specificating the cited act; number consists of year and number of that kind of act in that year, f.i.: 5548/17 = 17th act of the kind in the year 5548 (1787/88).
[hebrew]: man of importance; plural: alufim.
[hebrew]: characterization of jew, according to origin in Europe. Ashkenazi jews came from Eastern and Central Europe, without known  prior sephardic descendancy

- B -

B'r / bar
[hebrew]: son of rabbi …; b'r: initials of Ben Rabbi.
[Yiddish]: hairdresser, but often also: surgeon, doctor.
[hebrew]: daughter [of]; plural: bnoth = daughters of.
[hebrew]: son [of]; plural: bnei = sons of.
Bitachon chalitsa
[hebrew] : an act made up at time of  marriage, in which the groom or his father take take it upon him to cause not-attending or minor brothers of the groom to sign a chalitsa act [see there] at the earliest possible moment (for a minor: after reaching the age of 13 yrs). In extreme cases (as well): an act in which the groom's father takes it upon him to cause his yet unborn sons to sign a chalitsa act when they will reach the age of 13 (literally: insuring of chalitsa).
[hebrew]: circumcision (literally: covenant).

- C -

[hebrew]: principally: an act by which the brother[s] of a man who died, leaving no living offspring with his wife, free her of the obligation of marrying him/(one of them). In the Amsterdam acts the term is used for an act made up at time of marriage, in which the groom's brother[s] oblige himself / themselves to provide the needed chalitsa-act at the unhoped for instance, when it will be needed  without blackmailing the widow for money (literally chalitsa means: taking off a  shoe].
[hebrew]: cantor [in the synagogue], also called Shats (Sh'Ts are initials of Sheliach Tsibur = emissary of the community).
[hebrew]: pious, righteous.
[hebrew]: literally: friend; a honorary title for member of community, who served it well.
Chol Hamo'ed [hebrew]: middle days of the feast of Tabernacles [Sukkoth] and of Passover [Pesach], having aspects of the feast, but also of normal weekdays (literally: profane of feast); f.i: acts could be made up on these days, contrary to the Shabbat and the first and last day of these feasts.
Chelek Zachar Ben Pashut
(sometimes an equal part, in Hebrew: Chelek Shalem Ben Pashut)
[hebrew] = marriage
[hebrew]: literally: priest; somebody belonging (in male line) to the subtribe of people originally serving in the holy temple (subtribe of the Levites), still  maintaining some special functions in the ceremonies of worship; descendants of the Highpriest Aron; also designated Kats (K'Ts; initials of Cohen Tsedek).
person: person, named in the tnaim rishonim act [see there] as taking financial responsibility for one side (either groom or bride) keeping their commitment. Generally this person is a near and/or prominent kin/acquaintance of the marrying person (in Hebrew: kablan arev shtar).

- D -

[hebrew]: judge [in rabbinical court].
boedelskamer [dutch]: citybody regulating and supervising proceedings when persons went broke.
a term coined by the City Archive of Amsterdam (G.A.A.) for identification of the data of the Registrar's office, followed by a number indicating that specific  piece of  information; dtb consists of the initials of dopen/baptize, trouwen/marry & begraven/bury.
Dowry funds
voluntary institutions collecting dowry money for needy brides by donations of members; the dowries were allotted according to results of lotteries.

- E -

Edelachtbare heeren schepenen
[dutch]: high esteemed members of the City Council.

- F -

Fisches Frank
recorded epitaphs of gravestones of important members of the community, buried at Muiderberg in the ‘regel' [line] allotted to them; registered by mr. Frank; on microfilm in City Archive of Amsterdam (G.A.A.).
Fresco-Brilleman file: dB of synagogual marriages in the 19th and 20th century (very partial data, based on surviving community registrations), registered by mr. Jacob Brilleman; integration of these data and addition of civil info on these marriages, performed by Moshe Israel Fresco & Jan Vegers; dB exists in Center for the Study of Dutch Jewry, unpublished.

- G -

[hebrew]: responsible person.
Gabay tsedaka
[hebrew]: person responsible for relief money.
[hebrew]:genius [generally in description of chief rabbi].
Gemiluth Chasadim
[hebrew]: performance of welldoings; generally: a name for the holy colleges taking care of the death.
Gevir, gevira
[Hebrew]: freely: the wellsituated man, woman especially in conjunction with sephardi or non-Dutch persons
person named responsible for the wellbeing of an orphan; in Hebrew: Apotropos (from Greek).

- H -

[hebrew]: abbreviation of hakatan, literally the small; prefix to name signed on act, meaning the unimportant (term of modesty).
[hebrew]: the Cohen [see there].
the kosher meat market & slaughterplace.
[hebrew]: the Levie [see there]
Hebrew year
year of 12 months (13 months when leapyear) with length of 29 or 30 days from abt Sept to abt Sept;names of months: Tishre (30), Cheshvan (29/30), Kislev (29/30), Teveth (29), Shevat (30), Adar (29) (or Adar I (30) & Adar II (29)), Nissan (30), Ijar (29), Sivan (30), Tammuz (29), Aw (30) & Elul (29).
Hebrew year
number minus 4000 plus 240 => civil yearnr.-1 / yearnr., f.i.: 5766 => 2005/2006.

- I -

Inheritance acts
acts made up at time of rabbinical marriage, ensuring the inheritance rights of the bride (not existing according to formal jewish law). Generally two such acts were prepared (separately from father and mother, when alive) in which it was declared that at time of death of the parents, the bride would inherit half the amount of the inheritance of each of her brothers; in Hebrew: Chatsi.

- K -

[hebrew]: [see Cohen]
[hebrew]: freely: the influential person; plural: ketsinim
[hebrew]: community [as an organized institute], also: kille.
[hebrew]: female of katsin; plural: ketsinoth
[hebrew]: document written at time of marriage and given in the bride's hands, stating and ensuring her rights.
[hebrew]: Kvod HaRav Rabbi = the honourable Rabbi; title of learned person, not necessarily officially functioning as such.

- L -

Lag ba'omer
[hebrew]: 33rd day of Omer; Omer = days, counted from 2nd day of Passover until Shavuoth, having mournful aspects, and therefore prohibited as marriage time. From Lag ba'omer on this is again permitted.
[hebrew]: member of the tribe of Levites (in male line), originally responsible for service in and around holy temple, also Segal (SG'L = initials of SeGan Levie = assistant Levite); still maintain some rudimentary functions in synagogual ceremonies.
taken by wellsitated members of community as seed money for business. Generally taken from funds of orphans, the only institutes, authorized to take interest on loans. Seats in the great synagogue served as security/collateral to these loans.

- M -

May He Live (addition to name of living male person, wishing him good); In hebrew: Sheyichye.
May SHe Live (addition to name of living female person, wishing her good); In hebrew: Tichye.
Mehulal, mehulala
[hebrew]: praised one [male, female form]
[hebrew]: singer, poet.
[hebrew]: see Mohr'r.
according to jewish law: male younger than 13 yrs, female younger than 12 yrs;
according to dutch law: younger than 25 yrs.
[hebrew]: circumciser.
[hebrew]:MOreinu HaRav Rabbi = our teacher the Rabbi; title for functioning rabbi muflag [hebrew]: exceptional.
[hebrew]: wunderful.
Muiderberg cemetery
jewish cemetery in the neigbourhood of Amsterdam, where better situated members of the community paying their dues, were buried.
[Yiddish]: [becoming] of age according to Dutch law (> 25 yrs.)

- N -

[Hebrew]: the elevated person/the gentleman; indicating a married man.
a term used in this DB for the compulsory official assumption of family names between the years 1811 and 1826.

- P -

[hebrew]: executive of community, literally: provider.
a list of alimentated poor Ashkenazi jews in Amsterdam from 1809,  including about 2800 families; items are brought as: ‘on the list under nr. 17.25' meaning page 17, line 25. Original bilingual (Dutch/Hebrew) list is to be found  in the State Archive (A.R.A.) in The Hague under the head Opperconsistorie.
[hebrew]: or pu: executive of the community; literally:
Parnas Umanhig
= provider and leader.

- R -

[hebrew]: rabbinical (well versed in the jewish law]
Rofe [hebrew]: medical doctor.

Rosh Chodesh
[hebrew] = first day(s) of month of Hebrew year, often consisting of 2 days. When a terminating month has 29 days, the 1st day of the next is R'Ch; when a terminating month has 30 days, the 30th of that month and the 1st of the next are called R'Ch, and thus we have 1st day of R'Ch and 2nd day of R'Ch.

- S -

[hebrew]: euphemistic expression for blind man.
[hebrew]: honorary holder of baby at time of circumcision.
Seat in great synagogue
piece of real estate, bought and held by wellsituated members of community; at sale sold to highest bidder; served as well as security/collateral at times of loans taken the by owners.
[hebrew]: [see Levie]
[hebrew]: literally from Spain; jews who came from Southern Europe (including Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Greece) or North Africa.
Shabbat Nachamu
[hebrew]: the Sabbath following Tisha be'av [the ninth of Aw, a fast], which ends a mourning period of three weeks (Bein hametsarim) commemorating the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the holy temples, after which it is again permitted to marry.
[hebrew]: sexton of the community, in Dutch: koster/coster.
Shamash ve-Ne'eman dikhilateinu
[hebrew]: literally: sexton and confidential agent of our community; had as such authority to conduct marriages.
[hebrew]: [see Chazzan]
[hebrew]: ritual slaughterer
[Yiddish]: synagogue.
[hebrew]: scribe of ritualia and community documents in Hebrew.

- T -

Talmid chacham
[hebrew]: exceptional student of jewish law
Talmud [hebrew]: the discussions of the Oral Law (Mishna), as interpretation and extension of the originally Written Law (Tora), also called Shas (Sh'S is initials of Shisha Sefarim = the six books [of Oral Law])
Talmud tora
[hebrew]: a tora college.
Tnaim rishonim
[hebrew]:conditions made up at engagement ceremony performed through the rabbinate of  Amsterdam about a year before marriage; literally the  term means: first conditions. About 50% of these acts from the 18th century, written in Hebrew, are preserved in the City Archive of Amsterdam (G.A.A.), mainly on microfilm [see act nr.]
Tnaim acharonim
[hebrew]: conditions made up at marriage ceremony ceremony performed through the rabbinate of Amsterdam at the time of chuppah = marriage; literally the term means: last conditions. About 50% of these acts from the 18th century, written in Hebrew, are preserved in the City Archive of  Amsterdam (G.A.A.), mainly on  microfilm [see actnr.]
[hebrew]: the jewish law and teachings.
[hebrew]: highly educated in the Tora [the jewish law and teachings]
[hebrew]: community [not as kehila, organized]; f.i.: praying community at certain instant.

- W -

Weeskamer [dutch]: citybody, regulating and supervising rights of orphans; a remarrying parent had to obtain their consent.

- Y -

[hebrew]: dear [male]
[hebrew]: dear [female]

- Z -

[hebrew]: initials of Zichrono Livracha: his remembrance shall be a blessing; addition to name of  deceased person (generally juxtaposed to patronym of mentioned person)
cemetery in Amsterdam, where primarily poor adults and prematurely dying children were buried [also other members of community, when they had to be buried on or near jewish feasts, because of its nearness, contrary to Muiderberg].