a jewish family lighting the menorah

The Hebrew Language

The Torah tells the stories of the Hebrew people, the prophets and their descendants that received God’s laws and traveled to the “promised land” of modern-day Israel. The Torah was written in the Hebrew language, and Hebrew was spoken by the Israelites for centuries, eventually being replaced by Aramaic when Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians in 587 BCE.

Dr. Jack Fellman, writing for JewishVirtualLibrary.org, explains that in the 18th century, the Jewish Enlightenment resulted in a revival of many of the ancient traditions of Judaism. At that time, Hebrew was only being taught in synagogues in order to study the original text of the Hebrew Bible. A Jewish scholar named Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858-1922) worked to bring the ancient Hebrew language into the twentieth century, and today it’s one of two official languages spoken within Jewish communities in Israel and around the world.

Read Instride: Judaism