The Academy of the Hebrew Language

The Academy is the premier institution for the study and cultivation of the Hebrew language, charged by law with guiding the development of Hebrew on the basis of research spanning all periods and branches of the language.

The Hebrew language, a rich repository of Jewish culture and prime conveyor of that culture through literature and through the spoken language, is the thread that binds the Jewish people across continents and millennia. In the context of modern Jewish history, the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language stands out as an achievement of miraculous proportions rivaled only by the establishment of the State of Israel.

Journalist and scholar Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, often called the father of modern Hebrew, deservedly gets much credit for the miracle of Hebrew’s rebirth. Indeed, his work from the 1880s onward was instrumental to the language’s dissemination and adoption in the Yishuv (literally, ‘settlement’), the Jewish community in the Land of Israel.

For all of Ben-Yehuda’s monumental efforts, he would not have achieved such success without the cooperation and contribution of other Hebrew grammarians and scholars, as well as schoolteachers, who together pushed to create a central body, Va’ad HaLashon (the Language Committee), to guide this ambitious undertaking. The Committee coalesced in stages beginning in 1889 and became a more formal body in 1905. In 1953 an act of Knesset established the Academy of the Hebrew Language as a state institution to succeed the Committee and continue its work.

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