Close to 17 million Jews around the globe observe Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement.” During this time, they have a period of fasting, praying, and partaking in synagogue services in an attempt to request the Lord of Israel to forgive any wrongs they have committed over the past year.

Ahead of Yom Kippur, which is connected to Rosh Hashanah (New Year) and Yom Teruah (the “Day of Trumpets”), individuals wish each other a “Ketivah v’chatima tovah.” This phrase sends a wish for God to keep their family and friends in the Book of Life, so that they may obtain everlasting forgiveness and access to heaven after they die.

On the Day of Atonement itself, Jews typically extend a “G’mar Chatimah Tovah” greeting and use it to express a hope that their loved ones’ names will be inscribed and truly sealed in the Book of Life for the coming year.

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