Glossary of terms

On this page I bring the "formal terms" as used in Snoge during Services. I also brig the "Informal term," expressions and  language usage amongst the Amsterdam Portuguese Jews, as used post ww2. The latter parts is, of course, subject to changes over time. 

Formal terms

Wished and greetings


Formal terms


Person who opens the Heichal (has the mitzvah of Abrirà)

Acompanhador or Acompanhàn

Person who walks in front of the sefer Torah and leads the way. He holds the cloak (has the mitzvah of acompanhar)


Boy who winds the Faixa (band) from the sefer before the reading and rewinds it afterwards.

Ets Haim

In a mi sheberach: referring to a nedavah (gift) to the seminary Ets Haim and its library.
In assigning the mitzvoth (honors): the boy who holds the upper side of the Torah when the Faixa is taken off or put back.


Mappa, band. Long silk or linen sash used as a binding for the Sefer Torah


Memorial prayer (“Yizkor"), pronounced Hascabah


Aron Hakodesh (holy ark)

Honra Honra (mentioned in SH Brandon a.o. on page 210 section A and SH Cardozo on page ב).
Abelut (mourning)
. Extra prayers are read when avelim (mourners) come to the Snoge - כשיש אבלות בקהל. The avelim are sitting on the low bench behind the Teba and two candles are lit. Service takes place as usual, the customs used in the mourners home will not be relevant while the service takes place in the Snoge. At the end of the services
צידיק הדין, השכבה בילע המות are added (short haschava). In the morning this replaces the verses עץ חיים, ended with קדיש יהא שלמא by all avelim.


Room where deceased are washed




Chapter, ngaliyah


Person(a) who washes (wash) the deceased.


Man given the honour of raising the sefer Torah aloft prior to the reading from it. He is selected from a group of levantadores appointed to perform this misvah on a steady basis.


Man given the honour of carrying the Torah to and from the hehal.


Last person called for torah reading, usually the sevenths


Chol hamoed (mid-days of Sukkoth and Pesach)

Mishmara Fast the day before Rosh Chodesh


Depending on context. During service: the honors. Else: Funeral


Chol hamoed (mid-days of Sukkoth and Pesach)


Friend under 13 years, accompanying the Bar Mitzvah boy


Shabbat, weekly or Yom Tov portion of Torah reading


Member of the Board. In the context of the service, usually the parnas who is responsible for the good order of the Services. If a member who is not a parnas directs the service, he is referred as Presidente.


Yad (pointer used for reading the Torah)


See parnas


7 rounds made around coffin of a man at the cemetery before burial.


Special payers for very ill persons


Person called to the Torah before the Mashlim, usually the sixths.


Fabric covering the back of the Torah scroll, opened to the portion to be read..
It’s the duty of the Shamash (sexton) to see to it that it be always correctly positioned.


Person called to the Torah


(three) silver plates used to collect tzedakah e.g. at Chuppa, Purim or fast service.


Bima, the elevated platform at the rear center of the esnoga (snoge, synagogue) where the chazzan reads the service or from the Torah.

Terra Santa

“Holy Land”: In mi sheberach: referring to tzedakah (gift) for Eretz Yisrael.


One. Formerly the abbreviation of um florim (one guilder): at present   of um euro. Used as standard amount in mi sheberach after a Hashcavah. Money is given for 'shemen le'maor': oil for the Ner Tamid.


Wished and greetings

Hebrew wishes

A wish before going to sleep בטוב תלין, answer תקץ ברחמים.

A wish when sneezing חיים טבים, answer ברכה טבה (tabim and taba, Arameic).

A wish at Saba conclusion “שבוע טוב” and answer “מזל טוב”.

A wish during the Holidays: שנים רבות.

Greetings during Medianos מועדים לשמחה, answerחגים וזמנים לששון .

Portuguese wishes

Incoming Saba wish: Boas Enrtade de Sabbat (good Friday evening) or Bom Saba (good Saba). Boas Enrtade is also used separately at the beginning of Saba or Holiday.

End of Saba- and Holiday: Boas Semana (good week).

Eve Holiday: Boas Festas (a good Holiday), answer Melhorados Festas (best Holidays).

On 9 Ab evening: Morir Havemos (we are mortal).

Dutch wishes

At the start of a Fast: “gezonde vasten” (healthy fasting).

At Yahrzeit: “vele jaren” (many years). For Yahrzeit we have no word, the Dutch “jaartijd” is used.


We use the word “Shabbat” in Hebrew context, but “Saba” in Dutch context (see expressions below vs e.g. שבת חזון)

We call the “Bircat hamazon” the “Bessam” or the “Benção”.

We call the “יזכור” a ”השכבה”, pronounced as “Ascaba” (the ה is silent).

We call Holiday midday’s “Medianos”, not “Chol hamoed”.

We call a fast “Jejum” (pronunciated “Sheshum”), not “Ta’anit” or “Tsom”.

We call “Jom Kippur” just “Kippur”, without “Jom”.

We call the night of Kippur “Kal Nidré”, not Kol Nidré.

We call the “Chanukia” a “Chanukilje”.

We call Passover “Paas”, not “Pesach”.

We call the three shabbatot between 17 Tamuz and 9 Ab respectively שבת דברי , שבת שמעו and שבת חזון.

We call the month “Ab”, as of the 11th, “Menacheem”. See more on this elsewhere.

We call announcements during the service “Pregãos”.

We call the book at the Ouderkerk a/d Amstel cemetery where the burials are written down (name, date, row nr etc), the "Careira" (rows) book, see LAV page 1 & 5.

We say “זמירות”, not “פסוקי דזמרה”.

We say ”תחינות”, not “תחנון”.

We say ”שירים (לשבת)”, not “זמירות (לשבת)”.

We say”תענית בכורות”, not “תענית בכורים”. 

We say “ל"ג לעומר”, not “ל"ג בעומר”. 

We say “שבת תשובה”, not “שבת שובה”.

We say ”נגינות”, not “טעמי המקרא”.

We say “Nimendal” for “Parve”.

We call reading the Parassa (Tora) by the Chazzan “stampen” (possibly because he needs “inspampen”, which means in Dutch to work very hard to prepare).



Saba Bereshit, het regent dat het giet -
   Saba Bereshit, it's bucketing down (first Saba after תפילת גשם).

Saba Beshalach krijgen de bomen weer krach -
   Saba Beshalach the trees regain their strength (Saba after ט"ו בשבט).

Saba Nachanu, dan gaan de deuren toe -
   Saba Nachanu, shuts the doors closed (unknown origin, perhaps because on this Saba in 1675 the old Snoge was closed and the new one was put into use).


An interview (in Dutch) with Chacham Pereira (SRP) on the use of Spanish & Portuguese in Amsterdam


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