Jewish Languages

hebrew language

The Vitality of the Hebrew Language

How was the Hebrew language able to exist and function as an instrument of creative self-expression and communication for about 2,000 years, without such an essential ingredient for survival as a state or territory?

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Hebrew

History and Centrality

History and Centrality

The language of the sacred texts has always had an important role in Judaism.

Emergence of Hebrew

It's difficult to pinpoint the moment Hebrew emerged as a unique language.

Hebrew's Rebirth

Embraced by proponents of the Jewish enlightenment, then given new life in Palestine.

Theological Significance

According to Jewish tradition, Hebrew is the original language of humanity and the language spoken by God.

Why Teach Hebrew?

Hebrew connects Jewish children with a history beyond our insular present.

The Alphabet

The Hebrew Alphabet in Mystical Thought

The Hebrew Alphabet in Mystical Thought

Mystics venerated Hebrew letters, considering them paths to the Divine.

Learn the Letters

A chart showing Hebrew characters, their names, and their sounds.

Hebrew Words

Some basic Hebrew words for a beginner.

Sephardic and Ashkenazic Hebrew

You say "Shabbes," and I say "Shabbat."

Vowels

The dots, dashes, and other symbols that clarify how to pronounce Hebrew words.


Yiddish

Revival

Revival

Not just for bubbies, Yiddish is being embraced by hip twenty- and thirty-somethings.

Yiddish

Basics of the language.

Yiddish Words

A brief glossary of important and commonly used Yiddish words and phrases.

Chutzpah

The Yiddish word that means nerve...and a million other things.

A History of Yiddish

Yiddish originated in Germany, but was eventually spoken by Jews all over Europe.

Aramaic and Ladino

Aramaic

Aramaic

The language of the Talmud, Jesus, and today's Jewish Kurds.

Ladino

Judeo-Spanish mixes 16th-century Spanish, Hebrew, Turkish and other languages.

Ladino Today

Is the language of Sephardic Jews undergoing a revival?

Languages 101

Language and land are intricately connected. What happens, then, when a people has no land of its own?

Quiz Yourself

How much do you know about the languages that Jews spoke in the past and continue to speak today?

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