We’ve enclosed one of our broadsides (gospel tracts) with the theme mentioned in David Brickner’s article. (This is one of several different titles campaigners handed out in New York—total number of tracts individually distributed? 1,108, 715!) Since David wrote this one for a very Jewish audience in New York City, a few translations might be helpful to most of you.
First of all, the giant round thing the cover character is pushing is a bagel. Bagels are a Jewish staple and are best enjoyed with cream cheese and lox (smoked salmon).
mitzvahs: good deeds (the proper Hebrew plural would be mitzvot)
Mahjong: a Chinese game played with a board and tiles—like Chinese food, it’s a favorite pastime among Jews
Zohar: a book of Jewish mysticism
Zabars: the Rolls Royce” of delis on the Upper West Side of Manhattan
Tefillin: leather cases containing Scriptures, which very religious Jews strap to the forehead and arm in accordance with Deuteronomy 6:8
Rashi: Solomon ben Isaac, lived 1040-1105, known for his notes on the Bible and the Talmud and considered by many to be the greatest of all commentators on the Jewish Scriptures
Torah: the Pentateuch, the first five books of Moses
Talmud: Jewish commentaries on the Jewish Scriptures, also known as the “oral law,” which many Jewish people believe to be divinely inspired
Rambam: Moses ben Maimon, also known as Maimonides, lived from 1135-1204 and is considered by many to be the greatest figure in Jewish history since Moses, who delivered the Ten Commandments; known as a commentator of the Bible and a codifier of the Talmud as well as the author of the “articles of faith” found in the Jewish prayer book
Bris: ceremony of circumcision for Jewish babies when they are eight days old
Tallis: prayer shawl