The revival of the Hebrew language is a unique event in modern history. From a dead language without any natural speakers, Hebrew became the spoken language of millions around the world, used as their primary mother tongue. The revitalization of Hebrew began in Europe and the land of Israel toward the end of the 19th century, when Hebrew changed from what had become an exclusively sacred language of prayer, ritual and study into a modern, spoken and written language. The story of the extraordinary transformation of the Hebrew language is unknown to many non-Jewish audiences worldwide.
With this background in mind, the Embassy of Israel in Rome began a new initiative, seeking creative ways to introduce Hebrew to new audiences. The Embassy partnered with the European Institute of Design in Rome (IED Rome) and the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (MEIS) in Ferrara, and created a unique project entitled “Designing Hebrew.”
The idea was to redesign the Hebrew alphabet in a modern, artistic way by a group of young Italian illustrators. The young talents had no previous knowledge of Hebrew and were unfamiliar with Israeli history or culture. It was essential to provide them, through a series of training sessions, with historical, cultural and graphic background.
The results of the project have been striking. The designers have created original artistic representations of the Hebrew letters and have interpreted them with a fresh, new perspective. Their works present hidden values and messages to be unfolded by the viewers. The designed letters were enlarged to a huge scale and are currently occupying the entire external facades of the Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (MEIS) in Ferrara until February 2023. The original works will be presented in other locations throughout Italy over the next several months.