THE ACADEMY OF THE HEBREW LANGUAGE
The Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem is the supreme institute of the Hebrew Language in Israel. Led by the world’s most esteemed Hebrew language experts and staffed by a renowned team of research specialists, the Academy’s broad reach spans historical projects and the daily creation of new modern Hebrew words.
The Academy’s roots go back to 1889 and the father of modern spoken Hebrew, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who successfully advanced the rebirth of the Hebrew language and established the Literature Committee, the precursor to the Academy, which collected and published new Hebrew words. Elevated to an official role by a Knesset mandate in 1953 , the Academy has continued this storied journey – regularly coining modern Hebrew words to embrace technological developments and cultural changes, and shaping modern Israel and the global Jewish community.
The Academy’s most ambitious undertaking is the Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language. Initiated with the founding of the Academy in the 1950s, the Historical Dictionary Project aims to compile an authoritative historical dictionary of the Hebrew lexicon: the meanings and morphology of words over the generations, their first attestations, and when their use ceased.
After five decades of dedicated effort by dozens of scholars of linguistics, literature, and Judaic studies, the Historical Dictionary has achieved its vision. Its database constitutes a unique treasure trove: a complete digital database of ancient and modern Hebrew literature, presently available on the Ma’agarim website.
In addition to its many projects and programs, the Academy maintains a content-rich website, which also serves as an information center for the benefit of researchers, professionals, and the global public and attracts hundreds of thousands of unique users each month. The number of visitors to the Academy’s online site has increased annually by 10% or more every year for the past decade. The website provides free and convenient access to the Academy’s many treasures and resources—the fruits of the Historical Dictionary Project and the Hebrew Terminology Project, and grammatical tools, additional dictionaries, and articles on popular topics. The Academy also receives, and answers, over 2,000 questions a month sent from visitors on the website and on Instagram about Hebrew words and terms. To further interest in Hebrew and enhance knowledge of the language, the Academy additionally engages with the public in a variety of ways: workshops, lectures and in-service education at the Academy, digital newsletters, polls on proposed Hebrew words, and Printed quarterly journals.
The Academy’s social media platforms (FB, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube), have close to half a million followers (without promoted funding), and this number continues to increase constantly, demonstrating the broad range of interest and importance of the Academy.
The Friends of the Academy of Hebrew Language is an American nonprofit that raises funds to support the vision, mission, and work of the Academy in Jerusalem. The Board of the Friends is comprised of donors and leaders who work together with the Academy to achieve the Academy’s goals.