Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur Greetings

How to Greet Your Friends During the High Holidays

Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
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How do you convey warm wishes to Jewish friends on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?

Rosh HaShanah Greetings

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and is a major holiday on the Jewish calendar. Wishing your Jewish friends a "Happy New Year" is as easy as saying "L'Shana Tova," which means "For a Good Year" in Hebrew.

Rosh Hashanah is not traditionally a gift-giving holiday but if you are invited to someone's home and want to bring something, sweet foods make thoughtful Rosh Hashanah gifts.

Sweets are thought to symbolize wishes for a sweet new year and it's for this reason that Jews will often dip apples in honey on Rosh Hashanah. Kosher chocolates & candies, baked goods or fruit (especially apples or pomegranates) are also excellent Rosh Hashanah gifts. Judaica shops also sell special decorative honey dishes for Rosh Hashanah.

Yom Kippur Greetings

Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement and is considered the holiest and most solemn day on the Jewish calendar. Because Yom Kippur is a fast day, it is appropriate to wish your Jewish friends an "Easy Fast" on Yom Kippur, or in Hebrew "Tzom Kal."

The traditional Yom Kippur greeting is "G'mar Hatimah Tovah" or "May You Be Sealed for a Good Year (in the Book of Life)." This reflects the Jewish view of Yom Kippur as the day when God seals our fates (determined by our actions) for the upcoming year in the Books of Life or Death. The entire ten Days of Awe from Rosh Hashanah through Yom Kippur are viewed as the beginning of the New Year, so you may also still wish your Jewish friends a "Happy New Year" or "L'Shana Tovah" on Yom Kippur.

Jewish Holiday Greetings

For any Jewish holiday the standby greeting of "Happy Holiday" is usually also appropriate, as are the Hebrew equivalent "Chag Samayach" or the Yiddish equivalent "Gut Yuntiff."