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Rebirth: The Story of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and the Modern Hebrew Language

Devorah Omer
AGE: 10-14

This classic tells the story of Itamar, the first child whose mother tongue was Hebrew. Itamar`s father Eliezer Ben-Yehuda arrived in Jerusalem in 1881. He was the man who literally created modern Hebrew and fought to transform the ancient Biblical tongue into a living language for the Jewish people. His neighbors saw his idEe fixe as sheer craziness and the Ben-Yehudas were despised in Jerusalem-s Jewish Quarter.
Omer tells us how Itamar`s father forces his Russian-speaking household to talk only Hebrew. Itamar - or Ben-Zion, as he was called then – is a lonely child. He isn`t allowed to play with the neighborhood children because his father thinks they will spoil his Hebrew. He even loses his dog, because Hassidic boys who overhear him speak to it in the Holy Tongue stone the animal to death. When Itamar is locked into the school where his mother works - to protect him from foreign languages - he dreams that someone will steal him. But after his father is arrested by the Turks, Itamar defends his pioneering effort and later publishes a children`s newspaper in Hebrew.


Rebirth: The Story of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and the Modern Hebrew Language
Title Rebirth: The Story of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and the Modern Hebrew Language
Author’s Last Name Omer
Author's First Name Devorah
Language(s) English, Japanese, Russian
Genre youth
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1958
No. Pages 127 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Bechor Le-Beit Avi
Representation Represented by ITHL

Translations

English: Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society, 1972
Japanese: Tokyo, Fukutake Bunko, 1991
Russian: Jerusalem, Alyia, 1990

 
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