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Identity Card

Full Name: In the begining he was called Eliezer Yitzhak Perelman he Hebraized his name to Eliezer Ben Yehuda.
Parents' Names: Yehuda Leib and Feyga Perelman.
Year of Birth: January 7.1858.
Where Born: In Lithuanian village of Luzhky.
Year of Death: 1922.
Where Died: In Israel.
Profession: A Hebrew author, Journalist.
Key Words: Eliezer, Hebrew language.
What he is famous for: He revived the Hebrew language.


Eliezer Ben Yehuda was born in the Lithuanian village of Luzhky on 7th January 1858.
He was educated in a Hassidic ultra-orthodox Jewish house.
When he was 5 years old his father died, so his mother worked very hard to support him and his 3 brothers. Eliezer got a traditional education and learned in the "Cheder". After a few years, his mother sent him to learn in a small Yeshiva, away from his home. In the Yeshiva he started to read non-religious education books. His family expected him to be a "Rebbi". Even though his uncle sent him to the town of Glovokoya, Eliezer continued to be interested in all the non-religious culture.
In Glovokoya, Eliezer met Naftaly Hertz Yunes who was intelligent and knowledgeable about the non-religious culture. Naftaly Hertz Yunes pushed Eliezer Ben Yehuda to learn more about that culture. Because of that, he changed his way of thinking the opposite of his family's way of thinking. Soon after he married Dvora ,Naftaly Hertz Yunes's daughter.

When he was a teenager, in 1878, his family worried that he would be inducted into the army, so he went to learn medicine in Paris, where he got sick with tuberculosis. In Paris, Eliezer Ben Yehuda started to work on his ideals. There he published his first political article. In this article he presented his opinion about the importance of one country with one language for the Jewish people. He claimed that it is important that the Jewish people talk in one language (for this purpose the Hebrew language would match) because it won't be a nation without a common language. three years later, in 1880, he stopped learning medicine in Paris.

In 1881 he immigrated to Israel with his wife, Dvora, and settled down in Jerusalem. In the beginning (of his first repeat of time in Jerusalem) Eliezer worked writing for the "Chavatzelet" magazine and taught in the "Alliance" school. At first, he looked like a Hassid, so no one in Jerusalem was opposed to his ideas. When he began to look like a non-religious man, all the ultra-orthodox started to go against his opinions because they realized that he didn't want to keep Hebrew as a Holy language, but he wanted to change Hebrew to a spoken language. In 1885, Eliezer Ben Yehuda began to revitalize the Hebrew language. He established the newspapers: "Mevaseret Tzion" and "The Tzvi".


What was special about these newspapers was that they were written in the Hebrew language. Another important use of the newspaper was for Eliezer Ben Yehuda to present his opinion about the passiveness of all the Chareidi people that didn't work the land and were supported by "Kaspei Hachaluka". He fought against the establishment that led all that situation in Palestine. A big struggle between Eliezer and the Chareidi sect was growing over those things that were in the old settlement there. This struggle was growing to such an extent that the Chareidi community excommunicated Eliezer, his newspapers and his family. The excommunication influenced Eliezer's newspapers so it was harder than the beginning for Eliezer to pay for publishing them. Another thing that Eliezer did in the beginning of his first period in Jerusalem was that he spoke with his son, Ben Tzion, in Hebrew. He became the first "Hebrew child" that meant: that Hebrew was his mother tongue.

In 1887, Eliezer went to Russia where he got monthly financing for his newspaper from “Baron Binyamin Rotshild”. This helped him continue to publish his newspaper despite the excommunication. Already during his first year here he established with another people the society called "Tchiot Israel" – for the advancement of Hebrew speech. In 1889, he established with another group the society "Safa Brura"- which became "Vaad Halashon Haivrit" and later that became “The Akademya Llalashon Haivrit”. Eliezer was chairman of "Hebrew language academy" until his death. He also took a part in establishing the Hebrew library in Jerusalem.

In 1891 his wife, Dvora , died. As a result, he married Dvora’s sister, Chemda, (Eliezer gave her this name, her foreign name was Pola.). Chemda helped Eliezer with his projects and fulfilling his beliefs because she agreed with his ideas and it was important for her to help him.

In 1893, Eliezer published an article in his newspaper “Hatzvi” and there were some words that caused the Ottoman rule to imprison Eliezer on the basis of preaching for establish a Jewish power. Because of that, “Hatzvi” was closed. When Eliezer was imprisoned, a big disagreement about his freedom arose between the old and new settlement in Palestine.If they freed him, it could damage the new settlement, but they knew that Eliezer was sick with tuberculosis and that he could die in prison. In the end, he was freed, thanks to some people that worked for that. Eliezer dreamed about the revival of the Hebrew language in the fatherland, Israel, but he accepted the idea about establishing a Jewish country in Uganda. His support of Uganda’s idea created other opponents for him, for example: “Chovevey Tzion”.

Eliezer Ben Yehuda edited the first Hebrew dictionary, for that he needed to work hard and invest a lot. Part of his work for the dictionary was to wander from country to country. In 1915, he went with his family to the U.S.A. And came back from there in 1919. Eliezer managed to write five volumes of his dictionary during his life. The rest he just managed to make ready to be written. For the written dictionary, Eliezer used the original sources for the Jewish nation like the Bible. From the Bible he took some words and kept them in the Hebrew language.
On the other hand, he also used words from the Bible with different meaning. The number of all the words that he invented by himself is 300 words.

In his last years before he died, he mainly worked on the dictionary, but he also worked on other things like: establishing the company “Sfateinu” for the distribution of the Hebrew language and more...
In 1922, Eliezer Ben Yehuda died from his illness. He was 64 years old.
To keep his memory alive, there is a moshava now called “Even Yehuda”, and there are also some streets named “Ben Yehuda”.

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A month ago, my first child, Ben Tzion, was born. This event was very important to me.
I decided to get him used to hearing and talking only the Hebrew language and in this way to put into action all the things that I fought for.
There is no better way to endow our language, that it is the one thing that united our Jewish people to a single nation, because of that, our nation can be created just when we talk in our language on our own piece of land.
We cannot allow our people to ignore and neglect our language! Our father's language, the holy language, Hebrew! Hebrew is the only language that keeps all of us together, being Jewish from time immemorial: in the past, in the present and in the future.
If we don't educate and train the next generation, our children, to this way of life, of fluently speaking Hebrew on a daily basis, we will lose our identity and as a result of that we will also lose the occupation of this fatherland.
There is no other way except using Hebrew always!

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1. When did you start to work for your ideals about the importance of one country with a one language for the Jewish people?

The first time that I really did something for my ideals was when I was in Paris I learned medicine it was in 1989 ,I published my first political article. In this article I present my opinion about the importance of one country with a one language for the Jewish people. I thought that it is important that the Jewish people will talk in one language (for this purpose the Hebrew language will match) because it won't be a nation without a common language.

2. When you came to Israel and settled down in Jerusalem, what did you do in the beginning to practice to revive the Hebrew language?

In practice, I established the newspapers: "Mevaseret Tzion" and "The Tzvi". what is special about these newspapers is that they were written in the Hebrew language. Another thing that I did was that my son, Ben Tzion, was the first "Hebrew child" that means that Hebrew was his mother tongue.

3. How did you contend with your wife, Dvora's death while at the same time you had children, housekeeping to take care of and your work?

A year after Dvora's death I married her sister- Chemda; she helped me in the housekeeping,and even with my work.

4. How did you revitalize the Hebrew language in your private world like your home?

I made sure that we spoke only Hebrew in my house, for that I needed to invent new words for the speech.

5. Did you feel that something changed in your neighborhood or in the people that were close to you?

There were some families in Jerusalem that were influenced by my family, and started to speak Hebrew as their daily language.

6. How did you fight of the Hebrew language place in the education and teaching?

I was a partner in the "languages war" that happened in Israel in 1913, and I succeeded to convince the British governor, Herbert Samuel, to declare over the Hebrew language as a one of the three official languages in Israel.

7. How did you contend with all the opposition that you had?

I stuck to my opinion and I was uncompromising. On the other side I had support, too. I knew that innovation its something that is not accepted so easily.

8. In your opinion, what influenced the press to promotion the Hebrew language?

In my opinion, the idea of the Hebrew press to turn over to the Holiny Hebrew and not speaking to a as daily talk among the Public in Israel and special in the Youth. Its made me need to invent new words.

9. To which societies did you belong?

"Tchiot Israel" – for the advancement of speaking Hebrew. "Safa Brura"- that from it became "Vaad Halashon Haivrit" " Sfatenu".

10. For which goal did you write the dictionary?

I tried to show to the Public in Israel and to all the Jews in all over the world that we have a big vocabulary and that we can use it, and talk in it.

11. Which kind of sources helped you write the dictionary?

I used an original source for the Jewish nation like the Bible. From the Bible I took some words and I kept them in the Hebrew language. I also used words from the Bible with different meaning. The number of all the words that I invent just by my self is 300 words.

Rationale\Chaviva Roth

I decided to do my project about Eliezer Ben Yehuda.
When I heard that we need to choose a person who lived in the 20th century and that this person must be somebody who did and changed something in the world, I thought a lot and was surprised that it was pretty hard for me to choose one person.
Then I thought about Eliezer Ben Yehuda.
When I confirmed that he had lived in the 20th century, I was sure that I would write my project about him. This was because I already knew about him from reading a book called Habechor Le Beyt Avi. When I read this book, I was about 13 years old, and I was already impressed with his unusual personality.
I wanted to do my project about someone who really did something special and made an important change for the Jewish nation.I wanted to write about someone who I could relate to and I thought that Eliezer Ben Yehuda would be a character that I could identity with.

Reflection\ Chaviva Roth

From this project about Eliezer Ben Yehuda and the revival of the Hebrew language, I learned a lot.
First of all, I learned about teamwork with my partner. Sometimes it can be a little bit hard to work together, but this time it was helpful and it contributed to the success of the project.
Second of all, this project helped me to learn how to search and summarize material. It also improved my English in: writing,talking and understanding.

The major part that I learned is from Eliezer Ben Yehuda, a great man who sacrificed himself by doing an important task that he believed in for the good of our nation. He actually turned a dream into reality.
When I wrote this project I saw how I was getting even more impressed with him than I was before. In conclusion, I enjoyed doing this project. I enjoyed learning about the period that Eliezer Ben Yehuda lived in Jerusalem.

Rationale\ Tehila Ben Shushan

Chaviva and I decided to do our project about Eliezer Ben Yehuda because I wanted to learn more about the revival of the Hebrew language and who Eliezer Ben Yehuda was.
I was curious to learn how he lived, which education he received in his childhood and what caused him to believe in his beliefs.
I was also curious to learn about the Hebrew language that seems like something obvious to us. In addition, I wanted to know how his ideas began. I wanted to learn how Eliezer Ben Yehuda turned the Hebrew language into the main language in his own home and in for all the Jews.
I also wanted to learn if it was easy to revive the language, what were his difficulties with it and if he had opponents to his work and beliefs.

Reflection\ Tehila Ben Shushan

From doing this project I learned many things.
First, I learned a lot of principles from Eliezer Ben Yehuda’s amazing character; for example, to believe in something and to fight for it in spite of the difficulties that it includes.
Second, I learned that he did something very important for the Jewish nation, that he began it from the little things (for example, to speak Hebrew in his own house.) After that he did the big things. I learned about his childhood, his own house and about all his life.
Third, I learned how to work with a partner and I really enjoyed working with Chaviva because we worked very hard together. It was also fun to learn together about someone for a long period of time. In the project I also learned many new words in English. The most difficult part of the project was to translate the information from Hebrew to English.



"Eliezer Ben Yehuda" Jewish Virtual Library, 29/11/2006<http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/ben_yehuda.html >.
"Eliezer Ben Yehuda"The Jewish Agency For Israel, 29/11/2006<http://www.jafi.org.il/education/100/people/bios/beliezer.html >.
.< http://milon.morfix.co.il >מילון מורפיקס,2006\12\3
.<http://lib.cet.ac.il/Pages/item.asp?item=7145> .29/11/2006,אליעזר בן יהודה" הספרייה הוירטואלית של מטח"

אליעזר בן יהודה" ויקיפדיה, 29/11/2006 "

.נתן,אפרתי.דע את עמך.ירושלים:מרכז ההסברה\שירות פרסומים,1989