Modern Hebrew

The Past and Future of a Revitalized Language


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About the Book

Ben-Yehuda’s vision of a modern Hebrew eventually came to animate a large part of the Jewish world, and gave new confidence and pride to Jewish youth during the most difficult period of modern history, infusing Zionism with a dynamic cultural content.
This book examines the many changes that occurred in the transition to Modern Hebrew, acquainting new students of the language with its role as a model for other national revivals, and explaining how it overcame many obstacles to become a spoken vernacular. The author deals primarily with the social and political use of the language and does not cover literature. Also discussed are the dilemmas facing the language arising from the fact that Israelis and Jews in the Diaspora “don’t speak the same language,” while Israeli Arabs and Jews often do.

About the Author(s)

Norman Berdichevsky is a professional translator, writer and lecturer for several major cruise lines. Formerly a lecturer of Judaic studies at the University of Central Florida, he is the author of several books and lives in England.

Bibliographic Details

Norman Berdichevsky
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: 21 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9492-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2629-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments    vi
Note to the Reader    viii
Preface    1
1—Hebrew in American Popular Culture    7
2—The Magnificent Heritage of Hebrew    15
3—Modern Hebrew’s Inspirational Example    30
4—The ­Three-Thousand-Year-Old Treasury    43
5—How Hebrew Became a Modern Language    49
6—Do the Israelis Speak Hebrew or Israeli?    64
7—The Worldwide Rivalry with Yiddish    75
8—Negation of the Golah (Exile) and Hebraic Identity of a New Nation    87
9—Baltic Rebirth and the Zionist Staging Ground for a Jewish State    107
10—The First Modern Hebrew Textbooks Set in Palestine    117
11—The Soviet Persecution of Hebrew    124
12—­Arab-Israeli Use of Hebrew    136
13—From Jewish State Toward a Hebrew Republic?    157
14—Slang and Profanity in Spoken Hebrew    172
15—The Current Assault on Hebrew at Home    178
16—Outlook for Hebrew Education in the
United States and the United Kingdom    184
Epilogue    190
Chapter Notes    201
Bibliography    215
Index    223

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Admirable work on a remarkable language”—Middle East Quarterly.