More than 9 million people speak Hebrew nowadays but did you know that 150 years ago, the language became extinct? Here’s the indeed, fascinating story.
Hebrew was a spoken language for some 3,000-3,500 years ago. It was established when the first Jewish people arrived in Israel with Joshua. But then, it faced some serious problems. Due to the exile and diaspora, Hebrew gradually became extinct. By 200 CE almost no one was speaking the language even though it was still used for praying and literature.
But how it was revived? That’s the fun part. (the article continues after the ad)
Its revival began on October 13th 1881 in Paris. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, a Jewish lexicographer, along with his friends decided to exclusively use Hebrew in their conversations. As a part of their vision, they also convinced their family and friends to only speak in Hebrew.
Ben-Yehuda went on to create the Committee of the Hebrew Language (Va’ad HaLaschon) and wrote the first modern Hebrew dictionary. This developments led to Jewish schools create Hebrew communities in which children were taught the language and it finally became the national language of Israel.
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Sources: Modern Hebrew: old or new? | THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: REVIVAL OF THE HEBREW LANGUAGE