Yesterday, September 24 was the Jewish New Year for Observant Jewish People. The observant Jewish people go by the lunar calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar. On Friday afternoon October 5 till Saturday afternoon Oct 6 is the celebrated day of Yom Kippur (Day of Forgiveness) described in Leviticus 16. There are about 15,000 Jewish people in Uruguay and most of them live in our neighborhood. We saw a young observant Jewish couple reading books on a public bench yesterday. How did we know they were an observant Jewish couple? The man was wearing a Kipa. The name of the small cap male Jewish men wear is called a Kipa (dome or covering) or Yarmulke. This head covering was meant to signify recognition that God is present above oneself. It was traditionally worn only during prayer or during religious rituals. Eventually, Jewish people started wearing the kipa all day long, both as a sign of piety and to distinguish themselves from non-Jewish people. Today, the kipa is worn all day long by fully observant Jewish males, although many Jewish men wear one during prayer or at funerals even though they don’t wear one all day. Different types of religious Jewish men wear different types of kipas to publicly demonstrate their unique religious outlook. Read the paragraph below and you will see how we will have unique opportunities to speak with our Jewish friends over the next few weeks about Yeshua (Jesus). For your information, most of the Jewish population in Uruguay are Ashkenazi. Read the next paragraph.
The Ashkenazi common greeting on Rosh Hashanah is שָׁנָה טוֹבָה “Shanah Tovah“, which, in Hebrew, means “[have a] good year” or similar greetings. Thus, in Yiddish the greeting is אַ גוט יאָר “a gut yor” (“a good year”) or אַ גוט געבענטשט יאָר “a gut gebentsht yor” (“a good blessed year”). Sephardic Jews traditionally say “tizku l’shanim rabot” or “[anyada buena, para] munchos anyos“, in Ladino, both of which mean “[have a good year for] many years”. Serious greetings and blessings, based on the nature of the day, commonly used among religiously observant Jews are כְּתִיבָה וַחֲתִימָה טוֹבָה “Ketivah VaChatimah Tovah” which means “[may you be] written/inscribed and sealed [for a good new year i.e. by God].” After Rosh Hashanah ends, the greeting is abbreviated to גְּמַר חֲתִימָה טוֹבָה “G’mar Chatimah Tovah” (“[may you be] finally sealed [for a] good [year by God]”) until Yom Kippur. After Yom Kippur is over, until Hoshana Rabbah, as Sukkot ends, the greeting is גְּמָר טוֹב “Gmar Tov” (“[a] good conclusion [of God’s judgment]”). The above describes three important stages as the spiritual order of the Ten Days of Repentance (the ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) unfolds: On Rosh Hashanah God “‘opens’ the ‘books’ of judgment” of creation and all mankind starting from each individual person, and in those books it is first “written” what will be decreed, hence the emphasis on the “ketivah” (“writing”). The “judgment” is then “pending” and prayers and repentance are required. Then on Yom Kippur, the judgment is “sealed” or confirmed (i.e. by the Heavenly Court), hence the emphasis is on the word “chatimah” (“sealed”). But the Heavenly verdict is still not final because there is still an additional chance and positive expectation that until Sukkot concludes there is hope that God will deliver a final good and favorable judgment, hence the use of “gmar” (“end”) that is “tov” (“good”) and prayers and repentance are required. Then on Yom Kippur, the judgment is “sealed” or confirmed (i.e. by the Heavenly Court), hence the emphasis is on the word “chatimah” (“sealed”). But the Heavenly verdict is still not final because there is still an additional chance and positive expectation that until Sukkot concludes there is hope that God will deliver a final good and favorable judgment, hence the use of “gmar” (“end”) that is “tov” (“good”). (this paragraph was taken from Wikipedia)