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July 29, 1966 - Image 37

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-07-29

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Friday, July 29, 1966-37

Hebrew: Cornerstone of Jewish Survival


EDITOR'S NOTE: David Ben-Gurion
wrote this espousal of Hebrew as a
living language, in a special article,
written for the jubilee edition of "Olam
Hadash," illustrated Hebrew monthly
for children and youth.
* *


The great majority of our people
have been separated for hundreds
of years from their ancient Home-
land, yet the Jewish people has
preserved its uniqueness, its ties
to its traditions, and its sense of
solidarity despite the long disper-
sion. The primary factor in the
preservation of this Jewish self-
awareness undoubtedly has been
the Jewish people's ties to Hebrew,
its national language, the language
of the Bible, the immortal Book
which Jews carried with them
throughout their wanderings, a
book which has left its ethical im-
print upon most of mankind.
A second factor which helped
preserve the Jewish people in its
dispersion, has been its spiritual
ties to the ancient Homeland in
which modern Israel was created,
in which our prophets molded its
image and spirit, and bequeathed
to us hope and faith in national
redemption, in return to our father-
land, and in redemption for all
mankind—"Nation shall not lift up
sword against nation, neither shall
they learn war anymore."
For hundreds of years, the chil-
dren of Israel did net speak their
national tongue, Hebrew; but this
language never died, as, for ex-
ample, the Latin tongue died. He-
brew remained alive in the Tora
that the Jews read week in, and
week out. It remained alive to this
day in Hebrew poetry which has
been created ever since the Song
of the Sea which Moses and the
children of Israel sang when they
left Egypt and crossed "on dry
land in the midst of the sea, and
the waters were a wall unto them
on their right hand and on their
left!' Now, the Hebrew language
has become the spoken tongue of
• the Jewish people in its land, the
language of the independent State
of Israel.
Although not all Diaspora Jews
know how to speak Hebrew, it is
the responsibility of every Jew
who feels a spiritual kinship to the
Jewish people, to the prophets of
Israel, to the Bible, to the reborn
Homeland, and to the Jewish State,
to have his sons and daughters
learn H e b r e w, the key to the
knowledge of Judaism. Our immor-
tal Bible was created in our an-
cient Homeland, and although it
has been translated into almost
every language and dialect on
earth, more than a thousand, it
cannot be understood properly oth-
er than in its original tongue. And
without knowledge of the Bible,
the Jew is cut off from the living
source of our people.


A Hebrew education, based on
knowledge of the Bible and the
writings of the scholars of Israel
throughout the generations, im-
plants in the heart of every Jew
an awareness of the content of his
Jewishness. It brings pride in self
as a person and as a Jew, and
deepens a Jew's spiritual ties to
Israel—the biblical Homeland of
the past, and the Homeland of his
people's independence in the pre-
sent and the future.
Without knowledge of the He-
brew language, there is no guaran-
tee for the continued existence of
the Jewish people in the Diaspora,
and there are no means of guarding
its unity and its relationship to
I congratulate "Olam Hadash,"
the Hebrew monthly for children
and youth, upon its fifth year of
publication, and its propagation of
the Hebrew language among the
younger generation in the New
World. The people of Israel has
become a "world people" in two
senses—both in the world of time,
and in the world of place—thanks
to its continuing ties to its lan-
guage, to Hebrew. It is not merely
coincidental that the Jewish State
was reborn in our days due to the
fact that in Israel the Hebrew
language was transformed from
the language of the Book to a
spoken language, the language of
the Jewish people in its own land.
What yet remains to be done? To
make the Hebrew language the
language of the Jewish people in
each and every country of its dwell-
ing, and most of all, in the "New
World that is called America."

Yeshivah University Reports
Record Enrollment
The largest number of rabbinical
students in the 70-year history of
Yeshivah University's Rabbi Isaac
Elchanan Theological Seminary
have enrolled for the 1966-67 aca-
demic year, it was announced by
Norman Abrams, administrative di-
Mr. Abrams said enrollment will
exceed 400, an increase of about
10 per cent over last year. He also
reported an enrollment of 40 first
year graduate students, also a rec-

Thank God every morning when
you get up that you have some-
thing to do that day which must
be done, whether you like it or
not. Being forced to work, and
forced to do your best, will breed
in you temperance and self-control,
diligence and strength of will,
cheerfulness and content, and a
hundred virtues which the idle
never know. — Charles Kingsley

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