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Useful Judaica Terms and Objects that Begin with the Letter C

Meaning Christian Era or Common Era. A term used to designate years beginning with year 1 on the Gregorian calendar.

The one-humped camel, or dromedary, was domesticated over 5,000 years ago in the deserts of the Middle East and is ideally suited to this hot, arid region. The camel has become the iconic animal to Israel and the whole Middle East. Camels with brightly colored blankets are available for a fun riding throughout Israel. The fat deposit localized in the hump allows it to throw off body heat rapidly; its features, coat, and feet supply protection from the sand and wind, and it can carry heavy burdens through the desert for months without a water supply other than what it extracts from even salty vegetation. 

This symbol Chai comprises of two letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet, a chet (ח) and a yud (י). It means “life” as in “L’Chaim” – the traditional Hebrew toast. Chai has the numerical value of 18 in Kabbalistic tradition. Therefore, donations to charity are often made in multiples of 18 to signify life. 

A special kind of sweet white bread used for Shabbats and holidays. The loaf is usually braided, but on certain but on Rosh Hashanah, it is traditional to serve round challah (the circle symbolizing the cycle of life, the cycle of the years). Challah recipe.

Leveaned products that are forbidden to be consumed at Pesah (Passover). The technical definition is a product made from one of the five types of grain, wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats, and combined with water to stand raw for more than 18 minutes. 

The Hebrew term for a Hanukkah Menorah. A nine-branched candelabrum which is traditionally used to honor the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah. Eight candles represent each day of the original miracle and the ninth candle is called the shamash (servant) and used to light all the other candles. 

See glossary entry Hanukkah.

A sweet paste make of fruit, wine, and nuts eaten at the Passover seder to symbolize the mortar used by the Israelites when they were enslaved in Egypt. It comes from the Hebrew word cheres meaning clay.

A canopy made from a cloth, sheet or tallit stretched over four poles, sometimes held up by male attendants, under which a Jewish couple stand during their wedding ceremony. It symbolizes the home that the couple will build together.

Counting of the Omer
A verbal counting of the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot as commanded in the Torah, Leviticus 23:15-16. The counting represents the spiritual preparation the newly freed Israelites needed to properly receive the Torah. Today it represents ones desire to keep the Torah relevant in life.



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