7 January: Remembering Eliezer Ben Yehuda on Birth Anniversary
Image Courtesy: Google Doodle
Eliezer Ben Yehuda (7 January 1858 – 16 December 1922), a Russian–Jewish linguist, grammarian, and journalist, was renowned as the lexicographer of the first Hebrew dictionary. He was the main driving force behind the revival of the Hebrew language.
Life and Career
Ben Yehuda was born on 7 January 1858 in Luzhki, a small village in what is now Belarus. His parents were Orthodox Jews, and he was educated in traditional Jewish schools.
In 1881, Ben Yehuda moved to Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire, with the goal of reviving Hebrew as a spoken language. At the time, Hebrew was primarily used as a liturgical language in Jewish religious practices, and it was not widely spoken as a daily language. Ben Yehuda believed that for Jews to be a modern, self-sufficient nation, they needed a language that could be used in everyday life.
To achieve his goal, Ben Yehuda set out to create a modern Hebrew dictionary, which he published in several volumes over the course of his lifetime. He also established a Hebrew-language newspaper and worked to promote the use of Hebrew in everyday life. Ben Yehuda’s efforts were successful, and Hebrew became a widely spoken and written language in Palestine and later in the State of Israel.
Ben Yehuda is known as the “Father of Modern Hebrew,” and his work had a significant impact on the development of the Hebrew language and the revival of Jewish culture in Palestine and Israel.
On 16 December 1922, Ben-Yehuda died at an age of 64 because of tuberculosis. He was buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. His legacy lives on in the continued use and development of the Hebrew language.
Award and Legacy
Eliezer Ben Yehuda was a highly influential figure in the revival of the Hebrew language, but he did not receive any formal awards for his work. His contributions to the development of Hebrew as a spoken and written language, however, are widely recognized, and he is considered one of the foremost experts on the language.
Ben Yehuda’s legacy as the “Father of Modern Hebrew” extends beyond any specific award or recognition. His efforts to promote the use of Hebrew as a daily language were instrumental in the revival of the language and in the development of Jewish culture in Palestine and Israel. His work inspired others to embrace Hebrew as a living language, and it played a key role in the establishment of the State of Israel.
Ben Yehuda’s contributions to the Hebrew language and to Jewish culture are remembered and celebrated to this day. His dictionary, which he published in several volumes over the course of his lifetime, is considered a key resource for students and scholars of Hebrew, and his work continues to be studied and referenced by those interested in the history and development of the language. Ben Yehuda’s legacy as the “Father of Modern Hebrew” is secure, and his contributions to the revival of the language and to Jewish culture are widely recognized and celebrated.
On 7 January 2013, Google Doodle celebrated Eliezer Ben Yehuda’s 155th Birthday.