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The History And Development Of Modern Hebrew

742 words - 3 pages

Hebrew is the basis of one of the most persecuted groups in the history of the world. Its development and its triumphs show the strength of the Jewish population worldwide. After the fall of Jerusalem, Hebrew died for nearly 2,000 years. One man made it his life purpose to revive it and his homeland. Not only is this extremely powerful on a political level, but also on an emotional and spiritual level, as well. From its revival on, Hebrew has thrived among Jewish people everywhere.
Hebrew is one of the oldest languages known to man. It dates back to the second millennium when the Israelite tribes settled in Canaan. The tribes used Hebrew as their verbal and literary language until the fall of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.E. (Pelaia). The language lay at rest until a man named Eliezer Ben-Yehuda took it upon himself to revive it, almost 2,000 years (Ben-Asher).
Ben-Yehuda did so based upon the revival of many European nations. He believed that his people should also share in the “concept of national fulfillment” (Fellman). Teaching his homeland Hebrew was the first milestone he needed to surpass. His teaching philosophy was three fold: “Hebrew at Home”, “Hebrew at School”, “Words, Words, Words” (Fellman). Ben-Yehuda first experimented when traveling. He spoke only in Hebrew to every Jew he met. His first major experiment came about when his first son was born. He and his wife only spoke Hebrew in their home while in his son’s presence. His son did not speak until the age of four, but spoke entirely in Hebrew. Ben-Yehuda saw his successful experiment as proof that Hebrew’s revival was indeed possible. “Hebrew at School” was also successful. Most issues that came about during revival showed themselves during this phase of his plan. There were three main bumps along the way: there were few fluent teachers, no Hebrew textbooks, and a lack of words for items that came about in the 2,000 years the language had been dead. To promote the language publically, to adults, he created a newspaper—Hatzvi. Ben-Yehuda sold the newspaper inexpensively and soon the adult population of Jews began to speak fluent Hebrew as well. In the late 19th century,...

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