by Judith T. Fox

Translator’s note: I’ve attempted to keep these definitions very brief. Fuller explanations of many of these themes are available elsewhere on this site and I encourage you to read them. If you still have questions, have other words you want defined, or just want more information, please contact the Director of Congregational Learning,  at 860-233-2774,

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Haftarah -  A portion from prophetic literature traditionally read after the Torah portion on Shabbat and holidays.
Hakafot -  A festive ceremony during the holiday of Simchat Torah in which we joyfully carry the Torah scrolls around the sanctuary
Halakha -  Jewish Law
Haman -  The villain of the Purim story who sought to execute all the Jews of Persia.
Hamantaschen -  Triangular cookies with sweet fillings said to resemble Haman’s hat or ears or pockets.
Hametz -  Leaven. Specifically leavened bread products that are forbidden on Pesach. (pronounced cHametz)
Hanukah -  An eight day holiday that celebrates the miraculous liberation of the Jewish people from the Syrian Greeks. For instructions on how to light the candles, see our How to?/What if? page. (pronounced cHanukah)
Havdalah -  A prayer recited at the end of Shabbat that separates Shabbat from the rest of the week.
Hazzan -  Cantor. The professional who leads the parts of the service that are sung.
Hesed -  Loving kindness.
- Synonyms: Chesed
Holocaust -  Hitler’s war against the Jewish people and others.