Don’t say ‘Happy Yom Kippur’: How to greet someone observing the Jewish Day of Atonement


Sikh soldier fights to honor religion and country How much sex should couples be having a week? Here’s what experts say Rihanna unleashes savage beast in lingerie line Kelly Clarkson’s working mom guilt From Chrissy Teigen to Joe Manchin: How cancel culture has further divided America Artist turns urn into work of art for grieving parents Artist transforms prosthetics into superhero armor The new equality frontier for corporate America: Persons with disabilities Luke Combs’ Crocs an instant sell-out Ending the fast fashion trend.Why secondhand clothing, sustainability is thriving Jesse Tyler Ferguson looks to end of ‘Modern Family’ ‘Magic’: Australians awed by lightning flashing behind double rainbow Coworkers donate kidneys to each other’s husbands US vows again to ban menthol cigarettes, cigars Kelly Rowland talks new music project ‘K,’ learning to love her complexion Corrections & clarifications: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the chief program officer at Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.Her name is Becky Sobelman-Stern.Yom Kippur , which is observed from sundown Wednesday to sundown Thursday, is considered the holiest day of the year in Judaism.

It’s a high holiday that follows Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year .But it’s not exactly a “happy” holiday.So don’t tell someone “Happy Yom Kippur.” Start the day smarter.Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

“This isn’t a day of raucousness and partying,” says Becky Sobelman-Stern, the chief program officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles .“Yom Kippur is not about being happy.It’s about thinking.It’s about self examination.” Yom Kippur translates from Hebrew to English as Day of Atonement.

Traditionally, Jews spend the holiday fasting and reflecting on sins committed over the past year.Even if you’re not Jewish, you can acknowledge the holiday, and it is indeed respectful to share well wishes to your friends and colleagues who do observe.So, what should you say or write? There are some options.“G’mar chatima tova” is the customary greeting on Yom Kippur.

In English, it means “May you be sealed in the Book of Life.” According to Jewish tradition, one’s fate is decided on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur.”Our lives are in the balance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur depending on how we act,” says Rabbi Andrea London of Beth Emet synagogue in Evanston, Illinois.

“The fully righteous are inscribed (in the Book of Life) for the year, the wholly evil are not inscribed and the rest of us need to work to make amends and make sure we have more good deeds than bad, if we want to be sealed for another year of life,” she adds.Rabbi Sarah Krinsky of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC, says “not many moderns hold this literal theology.” She’s among them, but that doesn’t stop her from sending the message “g’mar chatima tova” for Yom Kippur.Of note: The “ch” sound in “chatima” is not pronounced like the English word “chat.” Instead, it should sound more like guttural utterance from the throat because it comes from the Hebrew letter Chet.

“G’mar hatima tov” is also acceptable to say.”Have an easy fast” might sound like an odd thing to say, but it’s “very much appreciated,” says Sobelman-Stern.“That is what the holiday is all about: Taking away all pleasurable things for the day so you can repent and take account of yourself,” she says.You can also wish someone a meaningful fast.

Traditionally, people who observe Yom Kippur neither eat nor drink for 25 hours, with the exception of children and those for whom fasting is dangerous.Once the period of fasting ends, it’s time to break the fast, often with breakfast foods such as bagels and eggs dishes.“L’shana tova” or “shana tova,” which means “have a good year,” is a proper greeting on the Jewish New Year and also fitting to say on Yom Kippur and through the holiday Sukkot , which goes from Sept.

20 to 27.You may notice that the words “tova” and “chatima” are sometimes written “tovah” and “chatimah.” Those spellings with H’s, which are English transliterations of the Hebrew words, are also correct and take account of the Hebrew letter Hei, which can have an H sound or be silent at the end of Hebrew words.Sukkot: The Jewish holiday celebrated in huts outside is almost pandemic-friendly Orthodox Jews and many other observers of Yom Kippur avoid using technology during the holiday.So if you want to share a message or make a phone call that’s answered ahead of the day of fasting, send it before Wednesday evening or after sundown Thursday, after the fast has been broken.This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Don’t say ‘Happy Yom Kippur’: How to greet someone observing the Jewish Day of Atonement .

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