Sunday, February 21, 2010

International Mother Language Day

We interrupt our walk through the Supreme Court Building in order to celebrate International Mother Language Day!

Click on the plaque to read about the "Father of modern Hebrew."

This house in Jerusalem, on Ethiopia Street, is where the Ben-Yehuda family lived.
Eliezer and Deborah left Europe and came to Palestine in 1881. Their first son, Ben-Zion, was born in 1882.
Ben-Yehuda was passionate about reviving the Hebrew language, and he made his wife promise
to raise the boy as the first all-Hebrew speaking child in modern history.
It was hard but it worked.
Legend has it that the little boy with Hebrew mother tongue carved the graffiti in the stone of his house. Shovav--mischievous boy!
Can you make out a crescent moon inside the rectangle, and what is supposed to be a star?
That was the Ottoman Turk flag back then, when the Land of Israel was a part of the Turkish empire.
In the years following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 came waves of mass immigration of Jews from 70 different countries, all speaking different languages.
Israel became known as the only country in which the parents learn the mother tongue from their children.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting! I did not know that.

VP said...

One of the great minds behind the birth of the State of Israel, well before the time. I used to love Ben-Yehuda street in Jerusalem, I think in every city, town and village there is a street named after him.

Jacob said...

I studied Hebrew for awhile...I enjoyed it immensely, but it took too much time. Maybe I'll get back to it in the future!

Enjoyed your post very much!

CathM said...

Another informative post... very interesting :)

Callie said...

I find your posts very interesting and enjoyable to read. Great photos too!

I like the interpretation given in the prayer as "circles of justice" much better than the english translation. (Post, February 20th)

I went looking for a complete Jewish translation of the prayer into English. I found this:

But I don't know if the prayer is translated from an English or Jewish interpretation. They don't use the "circles of justice."

Maybe sometime you could post the complete Jewish translation or a link if if they ever cross your path? Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

So what language were they speaking before that? That's really fascinating - I never knew that it was pretty much a lost language that has been revived!

Petrea said...

They say "you learn something new every day." It's true, as long as I visit you!

Louis la Vache said...

Indeed, interesting!

A Chinese Lutheran pastor «Louis» et Mme la Vache (elle est Chinoise) know is teaching his Chinese parishioners Hebrew . He has them reading the Psalms in Hebrew. This is in Richmond, California.

How's that for a little cultural, not to mention linguistic, variety?


Anonymous said...

Fascinating account. Interesting pictures for the story. Is Hebrew the official language of Israel now?

Robin said...

"Israel became known as the only country in which the parents learn the mother tongue from their children."

What a wonderful quote, and certainly true in my house - just last night my six year old was singing a song. She asked if I knew what one of the words meant. I admitted I had no idea and suggested we ask her older brother. Little stinker cracked up and said she'd made the word up!

cieldequimper said...

Of the importance of communicating in one tongue.

Dina said...

Friends, thanks for your input and questions. Sorry I had not enough time today, but tomorrow I'll try to answer.

JC said...

Very interesting as are all your post.

Jew Wishes said...

What an enriching post, and fantastic photos.

Kay said...

This is such a remarkable thing to know! Are the grandkids learning to speak Hebrew as well?