Monday, January 7, 2013

"Jew, speak Hebrew!" **

(** Slogan in the language battle of the Jews in pre-State Israel)

Google gave us a new doodle today in honor of  155 years since the birth of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of modern spoken Hebrew.

The doodle incorporates some of the words he coined:
glida  meaning ice cream
buba for doll
millon meaning dictionary, from the root milla, word.

Even before Theodor Herzl envisioned a Jewish State, even before the whole Zionist Movement,  Eliezer Ben-Yehuda was a visionary.
The word of God came to him in the 1870s at Kasr il Yahud, the crossing point of the Israelites through the Jordan River into the promised land.

"A clear, incandescent light flashed before my eyes

and a mighty inner voice sounded in my ears:

‘the resurrection of Israel on its ancestral soil.’"

 "The Jewish People [Am Yisrael]  in its own land and in its own language," became the young man's driving force and he moved from Europe to Jerusalem in 1881.

His grandson, Rabbi Ben-Yehuda, now living in the USA, summarizes thus:
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, a pre-Zionist visionary and pioneer of Jewish national renaissance and resettlement in Eretz-Yisrael, was a writer, lexicographer, newspaper editor, teacher (first to teacher an entire curriculum in Hebrew) and statesman. He founded "Va'ad Halashon" - the parent of today's Academy of the Hebrew Language and the National Hebrew Library. He authored the "Ben-Yehuda Dictionary and Thesaurus of the Hebrew Language, Ancient and Modern" . . . , a seventeen volume tome that is the most complete Hebrew language research tool in existence. He is recognized as "the man who revived the Hebrew Language."
 I am just now discovering that Eliezer Ben-Yehuda the grandson has a wealth of little-known inside information available about his famous grandfather:
For the biography book see
and for articles on his webpage go here.
You can also watch the Rabbi giving a fascinating lecture on his grandfather to a group of Christian Zionists,  in five segments, starting here.

And for some music try Chava Albertstein's singing of the modern song about Eliezer Ben-Yehuda that every Israeli child knows.
(A post for Our World Tuesday.)


  1. Really informative post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  2. Thank you for teaching me what I did not know before. So far I learned three languages, currently starting a fourth, whenever I will find time, for a further adventure, I'll let you know.
    Please have a good Tuesday ahead.

  3. תודה לך

    This is great! I just shared it with my cousins, who used to live in Israel - and who will return, I'm certain!

  4. Nice song - was he standing there at one point with a giant cauliflower? :) Language is so important to how we think.

  5. Really enjoy the educational clips you provide both in words and pictures of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas!

  6. Languages are so fascinating. I love learning about all of them and this is news to me.

  7. What a fun sounding, catchy song. That could really be an ear worm that Cloudia mentioned in her blog.

  8. Very informative post. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Love the doodle, I spent a lot of time strolling up and down Ben Yehuda Street!

  10. I don't know the language, but I enjoyed the singer's voice and the rhythm of the song.

  11. It is amazing what can be accomplished by one person with a big idea.

    An Arkies Musings


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