• Issue: November 1959
  • Designer: Z. Narkiss
  • Plate no.: 148
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

Until not so long ago, Hebrew was thought of mainly as the language of the Bible and the prayer book, but a glance at the number of newspapers, periodicals, belles lettres and scientific literature available in this language is the amazing proof of its revival.

This is largely a result of the work of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. He compiled a comprehensive dictionary of ancient and modern Hebrew, in which he coined many words to meet modern requirements. The volumes covering the letters alef to mem were published during his lifetime, but the remaining volumes were only completed later; the concluding volume was eventually published in 1958.

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda was born in 1858 in Lithuania where, in addition to the traditional education of Jewish boys, he studied in a Russian high school. He went to France in 1878 to study medicine. Soon after, he began publishing articles advocating Jewish settlement in Palestine.

Ben-Yehuda later settled in Jerusalem where he taught and edited a number of Hebrew journals. He obstinately insisted on speaking only Hebrew on every occasion, thereby proving, as time went by, that Hebrew can be a language for everyday use. He founded the Hebrew Language Council as the institution concerned with development of the Hebrew language and which today is known as the Hebrew Language Academy.

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda died in Jerusalem in 1922.

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Centenary of Birth of the Author Eliezer Ben-Yehuda