High Holidays

How do Jews around the world greet each other for the new year? Many use Hebrew greetings, such as "Shana tova" (good year), "Tizku leshanim rabot" (may you merit many years), or "L'shana tova tikatevu v'tekhatemu" (for a good year you should be inscribed and sealed). In addition, there are many Rosh Hashanah greetings using words from the local Jewish language. 

Judeo-Arabic

In Arabic-speaking countries from Yemen to Syria to Morocco, Jews spoke a variety of the local dialect, enhanced by many Hebrew words. Often, men and women spoke Judeo-Arabic differently, as we see in these Rosh Hashanah greetings from southwestern Morocco.

Women: יכּון עליךּ לעאם מבארךּ -

ikun ʕlik l-ʕam mbark

Men: מועד טוב - maʕid tob

Judeo-Arabic from Taroudant, Morocco

Bukharian / Judeo-Tajik

Bukharian, also known as Judeo-Tajik or Bukhori, is a language in the Persian family originally spoken by the Jewish communities of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. A Bukharian Rosh Hashanah greeting in three writing systems:

Soli nav mo(bo)rak boshad 

סאָלי נוו מבּאָרךּ בּאָשד 

Соли нав муборак бошад

Have a blessed new year.

Judeo-Greek

Judeo Greek Rosh Hashanah Greeting of the Day (1).jpg

Romaniote Jews, centered in Ioannina but found in several locations throughout Greece, spoke Jewish varieties of Greek. Here's a modern Judeo-Greek new years greeting, from an article about a woman from Volos and her Rosh Hashanah food traditions

Chronia polla, kai kali chronia

Many years and good years

Judeo-Italian

Until the 20th century, Jews in Italy spoke various local Jewish dialects, including many Hebrew words. In Judaico-Romanesco, the Roman dialect, a general holiday greeting is bon monghedde (good holiday - the ayin in mo'ed is pronounced "ng"). Here's a Rosh Hashanah-specific greeting alluding to the Yehi Ratson blessings, courtesy of Micaela Pavoncello, who leads Jewish Roma Walking Tours.

Che sia un anno di testa e non di coda

May it be a year of head and not of tail

Jewish Neo-Aramaic

Jews in the Kurdish region of Iran spoke Jewish Neo-Aramaic. Here's a Rosh Hashanah greeting in the Sanandaj dialect, also known as Hulaulá.

Shatakhún brikhtá hawyá

שתוכון בריכתא הויא

Your year blessed be

Juhuri / Judeo-Tat

Jews in Dagestan and Azerbaijan, known as "Mountain Jews," speak Juhuri, also known as Judeo-Tat, which is related to Persian. In most communities, Jews have shifted to other languages, but Juhuri is still the primary language in one Jewish town, Qırmızı Qəsəbə, Azerbaijan. Here's a Juhuri Rosh Hashanah greeting used in multiple regions.

Miⱨid Ruşəşunə ombarək bu. Xubə, şirinə sal gərdo!

Happy Rosh ha-Shana holiday. May the year be good, sweet!

Jewish Persian

Jewish Persian Rosh Hashanah Greeting of the Day (1).jpg

Jews in Iran spoke various regional languages from the Median language family, such as Judeo-Yazdi, Judeo-Kashani, and Judeo-Isfahani. In the 20th century, most acquired standard Persian, but they continued to use influences from their previous languages, especially Hebrew words. Here's a Rosh Hashanah greeting sequence from the Tehran Jewish community in the late 20th century.

Moadim shālom; [Response:] sad sāl be sālhāye khoob

Times of peace; 100 years of good years

Ladino/Judeo-Spanish

Bosnian Ladino Rosh Hashanah Greeting (2).jpg

Ladino / Judeo-Spanish is spoken throughout the former Ottoman Empire: Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, etc. See also a Ladino Rosh Hashanah seder from the Seattle Rhodes community.

Anyada buena, dulse i alegre 

אנייאדה בואינה, דולסי אי אליגרי

A good, sweet, happy year

Ladino from Sarajevo, Bosnia

Eastern Yiddish

Eastern Yiddish Rosh Hashanah Greeting of the Day.jpg

Carrots and cabbage soup are traditional Rosh Hashanah foods in Yiddish-speaking communities because of wordplay: mern means both "carrots" and "to multiply" (as in be fruitful and multiply in the new year), and kol mit vaser (cabbage with water) sounds like kol mevaser (voice proclaiming), a harbinger of good news and the world to come. Here's a Yiddish new year greeting.

A gut gebensht yor 

אַ גוט געבענטשט יאָר

A good, blessed year

Eastern Yiddish from Vilnius, Lithuania

Continue viewing our High Holidays exhibit: