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Eliezer Ben Yehuda - The Father of Modern Hebrew

It’s a well-known fact that Hebrew is the national language of Israel and of Jews around the world. What you might not have heard is that the Hebrew language wasn’t spoken from the second century until the end of the 19th century. That means no one around the world spoke Hebrew for nearly 1900 years! We know this might be hard to believe, but this is the only case where a language that ceased to be an everyday spoken language was revived as a country’s spoken, literary, and national language.

A book in Hebrew open with a child's hand on top the pages and pointing on the page
A child reading Hebrew

The revival of the Hebrew language

The revival of the Hebrew language is mostly attributed to Eliezer Ben Yehuda. Ben Yehuda realized that in order to be considered a nation, the Jewish people must have a common language to call their own.

With that thought in mind, Ben Yehuda moved to Jerusalem and began creating and spreading the Hebrew word, first amongst family and friends. Slowly schools began teaching in Hebrew, writers used it as their inspirational language, and even the Zionist Congress adopted it as their official language. It took time, but Ben Yehuda’s dream became a reality and now Hebrew is currently the official national language of Israel.

Hebrew is constantly expanding and just this past year another 1,400 new words were added to the Hebrew dictionary! Considering its past, it is a true miracle to have it once again.


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