Yom Kippur is a fast day when we ask G‑d to forgive us and seal our fate for the coming year in the “Book of Life.” As such, Jewish greetings for this time day reflect our prayers for a good, sweet year up ahead.
The catch-all greeting you can use for the entire season is “Shanah tovah” (שנה טובה), which means “Good year.” The word “u’metuka” (ומתוקה), and sweet, is sometimes appended to the end.
In Yiddish, the standard wish is for “Ah gut gebentsht yohr,” “A good and blessed year”
It’s a day where Jews ask for forgiveness for their sins over the past year as well as being a time for reflection and thinking of others.
Yom Kippur officially starts at sun down with many taking part in a 25 hour fast.+
Every Yom Kippur, Jewish tradition requires a strict spiritual inventory. You aren’t supposed to just sit around feeling guilty, but to take action in the real world to set things right’ – Naomi Wolf
Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy’ – Heschel
Yom Kippur is not about personal resolutions and private reflection. It is about standing up and talking to God. It is about apologizing, about reestablishing our connection with our Creator. We must tell God who we are, where we are holding in life, and what we know needs improvement’.
Wishing your Jewish friends happy new year is as easy as saying L’Shana Tova, which means “For a good year” in Hebrew.
If you want to express the same sentiment but more elaborately, this phrase means “A good and sweet year.”