Yom Kippur 2021 began at sundown on Wednesday, September 15 and will end at sundown the following day. As the holiday is being observed in communities across the world, learn how to greet your Jewish friends on this day.

Yom Kippur is a holy day that follows Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This isn’t exactly a happy holiday, hence do not go around wishing your Jewish friends a ‘Happy Yom Kippur.’

Becky Sobelman-Stern, the chief program officer at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles says: “Yom Kippur is not about being happy. It’s about thinking. It’s about self-examination.”

Wondering what to say to your Jewish pals on Yom Kippur? Keep reading!

Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP via Getty Images

What to say on Yom Kippur?

Before you learn what to say on this holy day, it’s important to know that the Hebrew term Yom Kippur translates to ‘Day of Atonement’ in English.

The customary greeting used on this day is “G’mar chatima tova,” which translates to “May you be sealed in the Book of Life.”

Another simple way to greet your Jewish friends, neighbours or co-workers on this day is by saying, “Tzom kal” or “Tsom kal” which translates to “easy fast” or “Have an easy fast.”

If you just want to stick to English, here are a few Yom Kippur messages and greetings you can say.

  • “Have a meaningful fast.”
  • “Wishing you a good final sealing.”
  • “Have a good holy day.”
  • “May your atonement be meaningful.”
  • “Have a blessed Yom Kippur.”
  • “Have a blessed fast.”

What is the Jewish Holiday about?

Like every other Jewish festival, the story behind Yom Kippur is an interesting one.

Parade.com tells us that in Jewish belief, after the Israelites fled Egypt, they worshipped a golden calf. That is not approved by their faith’s 10 Commandments.

This prompted Moses, the most important prophet in Judaism, to climb Mt. Sinai and ask God for forgiveness. Following two 40-day periods at the peak of Mt. Sinai, god finally relented and forgave the Israelites. Moses then descended from the mountain.

Now, the holy day of Yom Kippur is observed as a day of self-reflection among the community. Many people of the Jewish faith use this day for fasting, not just from food, but also bathing, physical contact, work and etc.

Famous sports personalities who observe Yom Kippur

Historically, many sportsmen have observed Yom Kippur. For instance, Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax did not play Game 1 of the 1965 World Baseball Series because Yom Kippur was on the same day.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green was another baseball player who made headlines in 2001 for opting out of a game for the first time in order to observe Yom Kippur.

Gabe Carimi, the former Wisconsin Badgers footballer, also fasted until an hour before his game against Iowa in 2007.

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