from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A passage selected from the Prophets, read in synagogue services on the Sabbath following each lesson from the Torah.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a short selection from the Prophets read on every Sabbath in a Jewish synagogue following a reading from the Torah


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Mishnaic Hebrew hapṭārâ, conclusion, from hipṭîr, to conclude, dismiss, derived stem of Hebrew pāṭar, to separate, discharge; see pṭr in Indo-European roots.]


  • He taught them their haftarah and these were children who never could read Hebrew and people would say they could never learn to read Hebrew and he would essentially start from scratch and they did beautifully.

    Women Who Dared - Marla Oros on FAMILY UPBRINGING

  • Certain older women were noted for their proficiency in Hebrew and sometimes it was a grandmother or “aunty” who coached young boys as they prepared for the ritual of chanting their first haftarah and Torah portions in the synagogue.

    Cochin: Jewish Women's Music.

  • Some of these, like the Bat Mitzvah for girls (actually initiated by the founder of Reconstructionism, Mordecai Kaplan, in 1922), parallel the established ritual for boys, celebrating attainment of the age of adult responsibility for the commandments of Judaism through such public acts as Torah and haftarah reading, leading services, and giving a devar Torah.

    Ritual in the United States.

  • Generally, full Torah and haftarah portions are read.

    Women's Tefillah Movement.

  • To mark the occasion, in the synagogue the boy is called to the Torah for the first time and, if the Sabbath is the chosen day, chants the haftarah, the prophetic portion of that week.

    Bat Mitzvah: American Jewish Women.

  • By the 1980s, most bat mitzvah ceremonies came to resemble a bar mitzvah, with girls being called to read from the Torah and chant a haftarah.

    Conservative Judaism in the United States.

  • Her father chanted the haftarah and the blessings before and after it.

    Ritual: A Feminist Approach.

  • Bat mitzvah took different forms, including group rituals that resembled confirmation as well as individual ceremonies at the late Friday evening service, where the bat mitzvah girl generally chanted a haftarah.

    Conservative Judaism in the United States.

  • In a letter from Tula (issue 26, June 25, 1887), Rosa Lifshits criticizes the granting of aliyas in the synagogue (when the men are called up to bless the Torah) to the highest bidders and to those who have ties with the gabbai (sexton), and also refers to the general atmosphere of mockery due to the numerous mistakes of the haftarah reader.

    Yiddish: Women's Participation in Eastern European Yiddish Press (1862-1903).

  • In non-Orthodox synagogues the bat mitzvah, like her counterpart, may simply be called to the Torah and recite the haftarah or may also chant the Torah portion and deliver a devar Torah, a talk based on the weekly reading.

    Bat Mitzvah: American Jewish Women.


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