Sabbath Related Greetings
Shabbat Shalom (shah-BAHT shah-LOHM)
Literally, Sabbath peace or peaceful Sabbath. This is an appropriate greeting at any time on Shabbat, or just before shabbat (e.g. any time on Friday).
Shavua Tov (shah-VOO-ah TOHV)
Hebrew. Literally, good week. This greeting is used after Havdalah (the ceremony marking the conclusion of Shabbat), to wish someone a good forthcoming week.
Common Jewish Holiday Greetings
Chag Sameach (KHAHG sah-MEHY-ahkh)
Hebrew. Literally, joyous festival. This is an appropriate greeting for just about any holiday, but it's especially appropriate for Sukkot (Festival of Booths), Shavu'ot (Festivals of Weeks) and Pesach (Passover), or for the day before the festival.
Gut Yontiff (GUT YAHN-tiff; gut rhymes with put)
Yiddish. Literally, good holiday.
Have an easy fast
This is the proper way to wish someone well for Yom Kippur. It is not customary to wish people a Happy Yom Kippur; it's not a happy holiday.
Jewish New Year
a Jewish sacred meal in which the foods themselves embody the story of liberation from oppression. A bitter herb embodies the bitterness of racism, oppression, war. Matzah, the bread whose baking was so urgent that its bakers could not take time to let it rise, embodies what Rev. Martin Luther King called “the fierce urgency of Now.” Charoset, a delicious paste of chopped fruit, nuts, spice, and grape juice, embodies the joyful world we work to create. This occurs on the first night or first two nights of Passover
holiday based on biblical Book of Esther
holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a day-long fast, confession, and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services
Festival of “Booths”
Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah
bar - for a boy, and bat - for a girl
High Holy Day Jewish prayer book
High Holy Days - - or Days of Awe
includes Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the 10 days in between
Hebrew. Literally, peace. A way of saying "hello" or "goodbye."
Mazel Tov (MAH-zl TAWV)
Yiddish/Hebrew. Literally, good luck. This is the traditional way of expressing congratulations.
Yiddish word that means something like “fate” or “destiny,” as in “I met my bashert” (my soulmate, the one who was meant for me).
Shalem Aleikhem (SHOH-lehm ah-LEH- khem)
Hebrew. Peace upon you. A traditional greeting. It is related to the common Arabic greeting, salaam alaikum (not surprising, because Hebrew and Arabic are in the same family of languages). The traditional response to the greeting is Aleikhem Shalom (and upon you, peace).
Yasher koach (YAH-shehyr KOH-ahkh)
Hebrew. Literally, may your strength be straight, or direct. A way of congratulating someone for performing a mitzvah or other good deed. In essence, you are wishing this person the strength to continue doing this good thing, and you are also recognizing the effort that the person put into doing this good thing. It is most commonly used in synagogue, to congratulate someone after he or she has participated in some aspect of the service. Strictly speaking, this is a masculine form. Some people use the feminine form (yishar kochech) when expressing the same sentiment for a woman.
Scripture & Text
Five Books of Moses, and also the general term for Jewish sacred texts
Jewish name for the whole Hebrew Bible
non-legal commentaries on earlier sacred text - including literary and sometimes fanciful commentary
monumental work of Jewish law, edited in 6th c. CE
Jewish prayer book
“friendship,” connotes pairs of people who study sacred text together in partnership
prayer, especially liturgical prayer
lit “covenant,” shorthand for “brit milah” - circumcision ceremony
a group of ten Jews required for a communal prayer service
Jews originally from North Africa and the Middle East (many of them Arabic-speaking, Muslim-majority countries)
seven day bereavement ritual, where mourners stay at home and community members come and bring food and comfort
lit - canopy; shorthand for Jewish wedding ceremony
Jews originally from Eastern, Central and Southern Europe (approximately 85% of the Jews in the U.S., and 60% of all Jews in the world)
Kosher (adjective) or Kashrut (the noun describing the system)
conforming with Jewish dietary laws - in short, only certain animals may be eaten, and those must be slaughtered in a particular way, and meat/chicken may not be mixed with dairy items.
Jews whose families were originally from Spain or Portugal (who moved to other parts of the world, including Turkey and the Middle East, after Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1496)
Common Islamic Expressions
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful; when starting to do something
Peace be upon you; when greeting someone
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun
To God we belong and to Him we return; when hearing about a death or tragedy
God willing; when mentioning something that will be done in the future
Glory be to God; when praising something
God reward you; when thanking someone
Salla Allahu alayhi wa salam
Send your blessings upon him (said when mentioning Prophet Muhammad)
Praise be to God; after sneezing or when you're happy about something
As God willed; when appreciating something
Lit. We seek refuge with God; when you see something bad
I swear to God; when taking an oath
Common Islamic Terms
Arabic for God
Holy book for Muslims believed to be the literal word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, via the archangel Gabriel
Ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset for 29 - 30 days abstaining from food, drink and lawful sexual relations between spouses
The meal of consciously breaking the fast during the month of Ramadan that traditionally begins with the eating of a date.
Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad
Arabic for canonical five daily prayers
Persian and Turkish word for canonical prayer
Interpretation of the Qur’an; exegesis
Prayer leader; there are women imams for all women’s congregational prayer in several schools of Islamic thought
Practice of the Prophet Muhammad
Pilgrimage to Mecca; one of the five pillars of Islam; Pilgrims go Mecca to perform a rite that commemorates Abraham and his wife, Hajar. The Hajj is completed the 12 month of the Islamic lunar calendar
Charity; In Ramadan, Muslims who are financially able give 2.5 % of their total wealth accumulated as zakat
Eid al Fitr
Eid means festival in Arabic. Eid al Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan; literally, “festival of breaking the fast”
Eid al Adha
Festival or feast of sacrifice; celebrated at the end of pilgrimage to Mecca; honors Abraham and his family along with their obedience to God
Common Islamic Holiday Greetings
Blessed or Happy Eid
Taqabbala Allahu minna wa minkum
May God accept from us, and from you