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(pl., geonim) Honorific term used for the head of either of the two academies in Babylonia: Sura and Pumbedita, which flourished until the mid-eleventh century. In Eastern Europe the title applied to exceptionally brilliant scholars or geniuses, the most prominent example being Eliyahu ben Shelomoh Zalman, known as the Vilna Gaon.


Often used to refer to Talmud, Gemara more specifically refers to the Aramaic commentaries on the Hebrew Mishnah produced in late antiquity in the Land of Israel and Babylonia. The Gemara and Mishnah together make up the Talmud.


A document presented by a husband to his wife that has the effect of solemnizing and finalizing their divorce.

gzeyres takh vetat

The “[evil] decrees of 1648–1649.” According to the Jewish calendar, the gzeyres takh vetat took place in 5408–5409 and the acronym of these years is takh vetat (referring to the Hebrew letters that correspond to 408 [tkh] and [ve-] 409 [tt]). In the years 1648–1649 a large-scale uprising of Cossacks and Ukrainian peasants led by Bohdan Khmel’nyts’kyi swept through much of what is today Ukraine and was then part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In the course of the fighting, there were many Jewish casualties, and many Jewish communities were destroyed. [See Gzeyres Takh Vetat.]