Hebrew College Written Style Guide

A consistent editorial style is one of the most fundamental ways to make a positive, professional impression on the students, alumni, and the community. Please use this as a resource when questions arise about grammar, usage, spelling, and Hebrew College’s editorial voice. Hebrew College style guide is based on the Chicago Manual of Style, which should be consulted if questions arise that are not answered below. Please note that this is a work in progress. If you have any questions or notice any consistencies, please let the Marketing Department know. 






Avoid acronyms. As a general rule. When in doubt, spell it out. It is always better to be clear than to leave the reader wondering what a certain abbreviation means. People don’t know what IFYC or JTFGB mean, for instance, so spell out the full name on the first reference. Betty Ann Greenbaum” should always be included in the first reference to the Miller Center.

Exception: Generally accepted acronyms lik UC Berkeley; UCLA; MIT  may be used on first reference. Hebrew College should not be abbreviated as “HC.” Instead, “College” (capitalized) can be used on a second reference (i.e. Professor Ziv has taught at Hebrew College for several years. Before coming to the College, she taught at a university in Israel.)

TV for television is acceptable as an adjective or in such constructions as cable TV. But it generally should not be used as a noun unless part of a quotation.

United Nations, U.N.: Spell out United Nations when used as a noun. Use the abbreviation U.N. (no spaces) only as an adjective and only when the acronym is understood.

United States vs. US: Avoid abbreviating the United States in text. US (no periods) may be used as an adjective, but whenever possible spell out “United States” upon first mention.


Capitalize campus when referring to Hebrew College’s “Newton Centre Campus” or former “Brookline Campus.”

Spell out names of cities (Los Angeles, not L.A.), unless in direct quotes. For major cities, such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, no state is needed.)

Spell out the names of countries (other than the US when used as an adjective)

In running text, the names of states should be spelled out: Joe Smith visited campus from Minneapolis, Minnesota.<

  • In addresses or in lists, use postal codes: 111 First Street, Phoenix, AZ
  • In running text, United States should be spelled out when used as a noun. US (no periods) should be written when used as an adjective.
  • Use commas between cities and states (i.e. Students in the Mekorot class are from Phoenix, Arizona, and Seattle, Washington.)
  • If you need to abbreviate in text other than an address, use the list below. Only use the U.S. Postal Service abbreviations (CT instead of Conn. etc.) immediately before a ZIP Code number.

State Abbreviations

Ala. Ky. N. Dak.
>Alaska La. >Ohio
Ariz.> Maine Okla.
>Ark. Md. Ore. or Oreg.
Calif. Mass. Pa.
Colo. Mich. R.I.
Conn. Minn. S.C.
Del. Mo. S. Dak.
D.C. Mont. Tenn.
Fla. Neb.or Nebr. Tex.
Ga. Nev. Utah
Hawaii N.H. Vt.
Idaho N.J. Va.
Ill. N. Mex. Wash.
Ind. N.Y. W.Va.
Iowa N.C. Wis. or Wisc.
Kans. Wyo.

Annual Fund

Always capitalized, even when the full name (Hebrew College Annual Fund) is not used.


Hebrew College uses “curly” apostrophes and quote marks (’ and ”) rather than straight marks (‘ and “). To make these marks, hold down option-end bracket key (opening single quote mark); option-shift-end bracket (closing single quote mark/apostrophe); option-open bracket key (opening quotation mark); option-shift-open bracket (closing quotation mark).

Hebrew College uses “curly” apostrophes and quote marks (’ and ”) rather than straight marks (‘ and “). To make these marks, hold down option-end bracket key (opening single quote mark); option-shift-end bracket (closing single quote mark/apostrophe); option-open bracket key (opening quotation mark); option-shift-open bracket (closing quotation mark).


Black is capitalized when used in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense. Note: “Black” and “African American” are not interchangeable. The Black community includes (among others) those in the African diaspora and within Africa.

Class Years

Class of 2012 or Class of ’12* (but Mekerot, first-year student, second-year student, etc.) To make the curly apostrophe before the class year on your computer, hold down the option & shift keys & the end bracket key.


Commencement (the event) is capitalized.

For academic years, always use two digits for second number unless it signals a change in century, then use all digits: e.g., “1899–1900” “1987–88” “1999–2000” “2008–09”


Capitalize the first word following a colon only if it begins a complete sentence (or if it is a proper noun).


Hebrew College uses the serial comma, or Oxford Comma, for clarification in a a series of three or more items:

  • Hebrew College offers graduate, community learning, and youth programs.
  • The course is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Note: semicolons are used to separate more complex lists, particularly when list items include commas.

  • She has served as an intern at the Brotherhood Synagogue; as director of youth and teen education, learning, leadership at Temple Israel; and, most recently, as a rabbi at Temple Emanuel.

    Course Titles and Fields of Study

In running text, capitalize course titles when cited exactly. Do not use italics or quotes. (E.g. Professor Smith’s course, The Bible; but Professor Smith’s introductory course in rabbinic studies.)

Lowercase fields of study unless they are part of a title or department name, or where caps are necessary for clarity of meaning:

  • She was a student in the Cantorial Program.
  • She was interested in cantorial studies.

Majors should also be lowercased unless they form part of a department name or an official course name or are themselves proper nouns (e.g., English, Latin).

  • Before coming to Hebrew College, she majored in history.
  • Before coming to Hebrew College, she studied English.


en dash: The en dash is shorter than the em dash and is used primarily to indicate a range between numbers, substituting for the word “to.” Type the en dash with no space on either side.

Made on the Mac by typing “option” and the dash key; on the PC by typing “control” and the minus key on the far right of the keyboard.

  • The assignment can be found on pages 34–36.
  • The conference was held September 21–24.
  • 1999–2000
  • May–June

em dash: The em dash, the longest of the three types of dashes, and is used to set off parenthetical matters, somewhat like a comma, to produce a more noticeable pause in a sentence. Type the em dash with no space on either side.

Em dashes are made on the Mac by typing “shift,” “option,” and the dash key; on the PC by typing “control,” “option,” and the minus key on the far right of the keyboard.

  • The JTFGB student—who had been waiting all afternoon for a donor to return her call—jumped when the phone rang.
  • Many of our classes are quite small—10 to 20 students—and students benefit from close contact with the faculty.


Gregorian calendar date goes before Hebrew calendar: “November 1, 2019 | 3 Cheshvan 5780”

Capitalize the days of the week. Do not abbreviate them except when used in tables where space limitations exist. Abbreviations to be used for the days of the week are Mon., Tues., Wed., Thurs., Fri., Sat., and Sun.

Names of months without a specific date, or with a year alone should be spelled out.

When a month is used with a specific date, abbreviate only Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Spell out all other months.

  • March 2011, was a cold month.
  • March 13, 2011, was a snowy day.

The 20th century (Superscripts—20th, for example—should not be used in everyday language. They are reserved for academic citations, especially in music and mathematics.) Centuries are only hyphenated when they are used as adjectives: 20th-century art.

When a range of years crosses a century, use four digits for both years; otherwise, drop the first two digits in the second year

  • 2018–19, but 1999–2000

Use figures to denote centuries later than the ninth:

  • The American economy in the 19th century

Use days of the month, use ordinal not cardinal numbers:

  • January 1 (not first or 1st)

In numbers in the thousands, use a comma:

  • 1,500 (not 1500)

No apostrophe should be used for pluralizing numbers or letters:

  • the 1940s
  • the depression of the 1930s
  • a temperature in the high 50s

Do not use a comma between month and year:

  • The visitors are expected in May 1997.

Eras—Use AD, BC, CE, BCE (full capitals, no periods)

Academic or fiscal years should be presented as follows:

  • Fiscal year 2018–19 or FY19

For academic years, always use two digits for second number unless it signals a change in century, then use all digits: e.g., “1899–1900” “1987–88” “1999–2000” “2008–09”


Academic degrees are lowercase when used in running text but capitalized (without periods) when used as acronyms—BA / MA / PhD.

  • Jane Smith earned her bachelor of arts from Cornell University.
  • She also holds a master’s degree in religion from Yale.
  • Jane Smith holds a BA from Harvard College.

Use an apostrophe in bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.

Use a comma between the name of an alumnus or alumna and the degree name

  • Rabbi Dan Judson, PhD, is dean of the Rabbinical School
  • Rabbi Dan Judson, PhD, dean of the Rabbinical School

Do not use periods in any degree abbreviations.

  • BS, AB, MA, MBA, MPhil, PhD, EdD, LLB
  • Magna cum laude, summa cum laude, etc., are Latin terms in general English usage and should not be italicized.

For a Hebrew College alumnus or alumna’s degree, simply include class year (do not include school). Commas are not necessary after name.

  • Russell L. Carson ’67
  • Henry Kravis ’67 was honored at Commencement

For alumni with multiple Hebrew College graduate or ordination degrees, list multiple years with a comma in between. Add Prozdor or Me’ah certificates after graduate or ordination degrees. List the certificate name first.

  • Rabbi Russell L. Schwartz ’12, ’13
  • Russell L. Carson ’17, Prozdor ’02, Me’ah ’13.

Digital Terms

a dot com company

Email: One word, no hyphen. But e-book, e-commerce.

homepage (one word)

internet (lowercase)

Listserv, not listserve—the word “Listserv” is a trademark


Log in as a verb (“Please log in here”)—but login as a noun (“Forgot your login or password?”)

Online—not on-line

newsletter, not e-newsletter or enewsletter

Voicemail (one word)

The web (not World Wide Web)

website (one word) and web page (two words)


Always list Andrew Offit as “Andy Offit,” per his request via Alan Sherman on November 5, 2019.

When sorting in alphabetical order, people with two last names are listed by the first of the two. For example, “Jane Smith Meyers” would be listed under S.

Foundation names:

  • If the foundation’s title begins with a family name, the foundation is listed by alpha order of that name: “Chleck Family Foundation” would be under C, not F.
  • If surnames are included in the foundation’s title, the foundation is listed by the last name: “Margot & Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation” would be under P, not M.

When acknowledging a hetero couple, such as in a donor recognition list, the woman is always listed first unless specifically requested otherwise in the donation form.

The only prefixes/titles that we use are Rabbi and Cantor, unless specifically requested otherwise.


Use three dots for gaps between and within sentences to indicate that something has been left out of a quotation. When the omission marked by the ellipsis includes the end of a sentence, use four dots (a period plus the ellipsis). If what follows the ellipsis can be read as a sentence, capitalize the first word. Do not bracket the capitalized letter.

  • “I liked the book . . . and admire the illustrations, ” said Margery.
  •  If ellipses are used at the end of a sentence, four dots should be used….


When sending all Hebrew College emails, whether internal or external, remember that you are a representative of the college.

Hebrew College email standards
  • Begin all emails with a salutation.
  • Use a 11- or 12-point black font of your choice.
  • Make sure your email signature is professional and accurate.
    • You do not need to include an HC logo.
    • Consider adding your pronouns.
    • Include your phone number.
  • Use spaces between paragraphs.
  • Use correct spelling and punctuation.
  • Proofread your emails.
  • Use a professional tone.
  • Use complete sentences.
  • Do not use abbreviations.
  • Do not assume your reader has all the knowledge. More information is always better.
  • Research and provide whatever answers you can, so the burden is not on the recipient.
  • Send emails from a computer, not a phone, to ensure they display correctly for the recipient.
  • Take your time. An email is a mini-publication.
  • Include a professional email signature. Do not include graphics. (See below example)
Sample email signature

Jane Doe
Creative Director

Hebrew College
1860 Washington Street
Newton, MA 02466


Additional resources and tips on email etiquette


  • Capitalize “emeritus” when it is used before a proper name: Professor Emeritus Arthur Wensinger
  • Lowercase  “emeritus”  when it appears after the name: George Creeger is professor emeritus of religion (not George Creeger is professor of religion, emeritus).
  • Use “emerita” when referring to a woman: Professor Emerita Sheila Gaudon
  • Use “emeriti” when referring to more than one male or a mixed group.
  • Use “emeritae” when referring to more than one female.


Hebrew College uses Verdana


Follow Chicago Manual of Style: Capitalize all words except prepositions.

In news headlines, use “M” for “million”: NSF Awards $2.4M to Scott Plous


Foreign terms or expressions that are not commonly used in English should be set in italics, including Hebrew words, transliterated Hebrew letters, common terms like “Shabbat” and “Mishkan,” and Torah portions. English definitions should be put in parentheses. Do not italicize common English words like ad hoc or per se. Hebrew words that are the names of programs (i.e. “Prozdor,” “Mekorot”) are not italicized. Arial Hebrew should be used as the Hebrew font.  

Holidays (Jewish)

For Jewish holidays, please use the following spellings: Hanukkah


Hyphen: Used for clarity when compound modifiers (also called phrasal adjectives)—such as “high-profile” or “book-length”—precede a noun. Also use hyphens to separate two repeated vowels (as in re-educate), to avoid confusion with another word (re-creation/recreation), or to prevent misreading (anti-utopian, co-edition, pro-choice, pro-democracy, pro-life, pro-regent).

Hebrew College uses hyphens after the prefix “co” as in co-founder, co-director, co-CEO, co-teacher.
best seller (two words); but: best-selling author

Invitation Style

Invitation style is an exception to other rules listed in this document

  • No punctuation at the ends of lines; internal punctuation only
  • No zeroes is the preferred style: 7 p.m. Use zeroes in more formal documents (7:00 p.m.)
  • Capitalize titles after people’s names


  • Use italics for names of books, movies, plays, and television shows. Poems are enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Use italics for names of legal cases when mentioned in text.
  • Use italics for titles of operas, oratorios, tone poems, and other long compositions. Titles of songs are set in roman and surrounded by quotations marks.
  • Use italics for names of paintings, drawings, and other art works, including cartoons and comic strips, as well as formally titled arts exhibitions.
  • Use italics for Hebrew or other non-English words.
  • Names of large-scale exhibitions and fairs (the Great Exhibition of 1950, the New York World’s Fair) should be capitalized but not italicized.

Junior and Senior

Jr.—The Chicago Manual now recommends that “Jr.” and “Sr.” not be set off with commas: Fred Flintstone Jr. is a member of the Board of Trustees 

kickoff (n.)—not kick-off



Hebrew College style recommends using minimal punctuation in lists, but also consistency. If a bulleted list begins with punctuation, it should be used throughout.

The course is held on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Aristotle’s Rhetoric emphasized three components of effective communication:

  • Logos
  • Ethos
  • Pathos

Our recommendation is to:

  • develop a strategy for implementation;
  • evaluate the necessary resources; and
  • determine a feasible timeline.


Names of months are always spelled out in text, whether alone or in dates. Capitalize the names of months in all uses. If it is necessary to abbreviate, only do so with Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. (with periods). Names of months without a specific date, or with a year alone should be spelled out. Please see dates above for more information.


Use the dollar sign when a specific dollar amount is mentioned (Betty donated $5 million to the White Shoe Foundation.)
But: Betty has donated millions of dollars to her favorite charity. Her father has a business worth half a billion dollars.


The following numbers are spelled out in running text:

  • Whole numbers from one through nine
  • Any of these numbers followed by hundred, thousand, million, etc.

Use numerals for dates, times, page numbers, decimal amounts, ages, and percentages, even if they are between 1 and 9:

  • He only got a 2 percent raise.
  • My son turned 3 today.
  • Hyphenate ages as adjectives and as nouns: a 45-year-old lawyer, a 45-year-old who went to law school.
  • Use numerals for decades of life: a man in his 40s.

Spell out percent (e.g. 99 percent)

Spell out “million” when using a round figure (i.e., Lionel Hepplethwaite gave Hebrew College $4 million).
Numeric ranges are separated by an en dash unless preceded by “from” or “between”

  • December 21–28
  • From December 21 to 28
  • Between December 21 and 28

Commas may also be used to separate elements of a date range

  • The program will run from May 30, 1996, to June 17, 1997.

Never start a sentence with a number — spell out the number or restructure the sentence if necessary.

  • NOT: 1976 was the year of the nation’s bicentennial celebration.
  • INSTEAD: The nation celebrated its bicentennial in 1976.
  • NOT: Ninety-seven students are volunteer tutors.
  •  INSTEAD: There are 97 volunteer tutors.

When two kinds of numbers fall together, use a figure for one kind to differentiate between them:

  • There are three 4-credit courses.

Telephone Numbers: Use hyphens throughout with no spaces. Not periods.

  • 617-555-8567
  • For international telephone numbers, include the country code preceded by a plus (which indicates that additional numbers, depending on the origin of the call, are required). For example, a French number looks like this — +33 1 00 00 00 00 — where “33” is the country code for France, “1” designates the Île-de-France region (which includes Paris), and the rest is the usual eight paired digits separated by spaces for French telephone numbers. From the United States, the plus sign signals the 011 needed to initiate an international call; from many other countries, it’s 00.


Hebrew College uses Parashat (not Parasha) to refer to the weekly Torah portion.


Capitalize Pluralism when referring to the movement.


Most are not hyphenated (multipurpose, nonprofit, postgame, etc.). Webster’s lists words that require hyphenated prefixes. Exception: co-author, co-edit, co-found, co-chair.


When used before a name, “president” is capitalized. When used after a name, president is lower case:

  • President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld is the first woman to lead Hebrew College.
  • Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, president of Hebrew College, attended the meeting.
  • Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld is the president of Hebrew College.

Program names

Program names are capitalized—Cantorial Program, Jewish Studies Program.


When used before a name, “professor” is capitalized. But when “professor” follows the name (or no name is included), use lower case:

  • Rabbi Nehemia Polen, professor of Jewish Thought
  • Professor Rabbi Rabbi Nehemia Polen
    He is a Hebrew professor.

Note: named professorships are always capitalized.


See dashes, ellipses, hyphens, quotation marks, and lists, above and below.


Not “Q and A” or “Q & A”’


Use the past tense (said, claimed, asked, wrote) when attributing quotations obtained in an interview.

Hebrew College uses “curly” apostrophes and quote marks (’ and ”) rather than straight marks (‘ and “). To make these marks, hold down option-end bracket key (opening single quote mark); option-shift-end bracket (closing single quote mark/apostrophe); option-open bracket key (opening quotation mark); option-shift-open bracket (closing quotation mark).

Commas and periods go inside quotation marks; colons and semicolons go outside.

    • “I’ll write a check for $1 million,” Mr. Buckram said.
    • Mrs. Peevish scolded us for making “such a foolish request”; later, we received the check for $1 million.


Question marks and exclamation points go either inside or outside, depending on the meaning:

    • She asked, “Why must you act so indifferent?”
    • Why did he reply, “This is inconceivable”?


RSVP should be written in all caps with no punctuation.


Seasons are not capitalized unless they are paired with a term—winter, spring, summer, fall; but: Winter Semester


Superscript should not be used in ordinary text. Incorrect: 14th; Correct: 14th


The abbreviations a.m. and p.m. should be set in lowercase with periods, except in marketing materials. Do not capitalize. Do not exclude periods. To avoid confusion, use Noon or Midnight, not 12:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m.

  • 10 a.m. (before noon)
  • 8 p.m. (after noon)

In a sentence, use morning or afternoon. Not a.m./ p.m.

  • Wrong: Early this a.m., he went to the doctor.
  • Correct: Early this morning, he went to the doctor.
  • Correct: At 8:30 a.m., he went to the doctor.

When specifying time zones, Hebrew College follows the Chicago Manual of Style. Time zones are abbreviated, capitalized, and in parenthesis after the time.

  • 5 p.m. (EST)
  • Note: EST during fall/winter and EDT during spring/summer, this applies to other applicable time zones as well.

When citing time ranges, use the fewest number of digits possible but use a consistent number of digits.

  • 8–9 a.m.
  • 8:00–9:30 a.m.
  • 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • 8 a.m. to Noon
  • The event lasted from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


Do not capitalize the “t” in “the” unless it appears at the beginning of a sentence:

  • We received a grant from the Ford Foundation.
  • The Ford Foundation has been generous.
    But if “the” is a part of the official name of a publication, the “t” is often capitalized:
  • The New York Times
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • The New Yorker


Abbreviate the following titles when they precede a name and are written outside direct quotations: Dr., Mr., Mrs., Gov., Lt. Gov., Rep., Sen., and all military titles.

The plural use of these titles is also abbreviated when used before more than one name, such as Drs., Reps., Sens., and Govs. Spell out these titles when included in a direct quote or when used without a name.

Academic titles such as professor, chair and dean should be spelled out.

The religious titles of Brother, Sister, Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop, and Rabbi should be spelled out. The title of Reverend should also be spelled out on first reference. On second reference, if used along with the person’s name, Rev. is the preferred style. Reverend should not be abbreviated when used by itself.

Following the first reference, religious titles should continue to be used before the person’s name as a courtesy

The title of Dr. should not be used in conjunction with Ph.D., Ed.D or other academic degrees. Use one or the other. However, academic degrees can be used after the names of individuals who hold religious titles:
• Correct: Rabbi Dan Judson, PhD
• Incorrect: Dr. Rabbi Dan Judson, PhD.

When using the title of Dr. in materials for public/media distribution, it is important to identify early on the person’s credentials, i.e. whether he or she is a doctor of medicine or holds a doctoral degree in specific areas of study. Often, including a person’s official occupational title will help to clarify this matter. To further clarify, information about the person’s educational/occupational background can be included where appropriate.

People’s titles are capitalized when they appear immediately before the name (Dean Dan Judson) but are not capped when they appear by themselves or after the name (Dan Judson, dean of the Hebrew College Rabbinical School; the dean is attending a conference). Capitalize titles after names only on invitations or posters or when appearing directly under a person’s name in a list of names and titles.
Lowercase words like professor, director, dean, when they stand alone or follow a name:

  • The audience gave its loudest applause to the professor who…
  • Rabbi Dan Judson, dean of the Rabbinical School, stated
  • Rachel Adelman, associate professor of Hebrew Bible, was teaching

Lowercase a person’s title when the title appears after the name or without the name, but uppercase it if it precedes a name.

  • She now works as the rabbi of Temple Emanuel…
  • The new policy, as laid out by Rabbi Dan Berman, takes effect tomorrow.

Do not use a comma around Jr., II, or III.

  • The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a renowned civil rights activist.

When a title is used in apposition before a personal name—usually preceded by the or by a modifier—it is not considered a title and is therefore lowercase.

  • The empress Elisabeth of Austria (but Empress Elisabeth of Austria)
  • German chancellor Angela Merkel (but Chancellor Merkel)


Toward. Not towards


Capitalize Trustee when it is used before a proper name. Lowercase if it is used after a name. Board of Trustees is always capitalized.

  • Trustee Carl Chudnofsky `13
  • Carl Chudnofsky `13 is a trustee
    Carl Chudnofsky `13 is a member of the Board of Trustees

Vice president

Vice president has no hyphen.