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Jewish Holiday Expressions

Chag Sameach: An appropriate greeting, meaning "Happy Holiday," for joyous Jewish holidays such as Tabernacles (Sukkot), Passover, and Shavuot

Good/Gut Yontiff: The English/Yiddish version of 'Chag Sameach' used frequently in North America

Chag Kasher Ve'Sameach: Special Passover greeting to wish someone a Kosher and Happy Holiday

Shana Tova: Meaning "Good Year," this Jewish greeting is used throughout the period of Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year

Tzom Kal/Have an Easy Fast: These Hebrew and English Jewish greetings are commonly uttered before Jewish fast days (solemn days during which Jewish adults refrain from eating and drinking), and especially before Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement – the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar

Everyday Expressions

Shalom: Meaning "hello," "goodbye," and "peace," this is the most well-known Jewish expression

Shalom Aleichem: Literally meaning "peace be upon you," this phrase is used to greet a friend who you haven't seen for a while or who has just arrived from traveling

Gezuntheit: Meaning "health" in Yiddish, "Gezuntheit" is the Jewish version of "Bless You" uttered after someone sneezes

Mazel Tov:Yiddish/Hebrew. Literally, good luck. This is the traditional way of expressing congratulations. "Mazel tov!" is the correct and traditional response upon hearing that a person has gotten engaged or married, has had a child, or has become a bar mitzvah. It can be used to congratulate someone for getting a new job, graduating from college, or any other happy event. Note that this term is not used in the way that the expression "good luck" is used in English; that is, it should not be used to wish someone luck in the future. Rather, it is an expression of pleasure at the good luck someone has already had.

L'Chayim: Yiddish/Hebrew. Literally, to life. The toast you offer before drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages, used the way you would use "Cheers!" in English.

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