B'nai Brith, UNESCO to hold Hebrew symposium in Paris

The conference, entitled "Hebrew as a Treasure of Human Heritage," will mark a century since the passing of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Hebrew.

 Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the founder of modern Hebrew, in his home in Jerusalem, sometime between 1918-1923.  (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the founder of modern Hebrew, in his home in Jerusalem, sometime between 1918-1923.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Service organization B'nai Brith International is preparing to hold a historic international conference on the Hebrew language at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris on Nov. 15, 2022. 

This will be the organization's third such symposium on Jewish languages at UNESCO; they held a conference on Yiddish in 2012 and Ladino in 2014. 

The conference, entitled "Hebrew as a Treasure of Human Heritage," will mark a century since the passing of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, who is widely regarded as the father of modern Hebrew.

The event is also going to be recognized in the larger context of UNESCO's International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032), an initiative declared by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to "draw global attention on the critical situation of many indigenous languages and to mobilize stakeholders and resources for their preservation, revitalization and promotion" per the language of the UNGA declaration.

A wide range of expert speakers from all over the world will be presenting on various topics related to the development of modern Hebrew and the historical impact of the Hebrew language throughout the ages. The symposium will be split into four sections by theme, beginning with the philology of Hebrew, continuing onto its use in the Jewish exile, arriving at the reemergence of Hebrew as a lingua franca and finishing with the final session entitled "Lessons Learned from the Revival of Hebrew."

Dr. Avshalom Kor (credit: Wikimedia Commons)Dr. Avshalom Kor (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Who is going to be there?

The Israeli delegation includes Prof. Moshe Bar-Asher, president of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, who will be giving the opening keynote address entitled, “Modern Hebrew and its Heritage from Generations Past” and the Academy's vice president Prof. Aharon Maman, who will be speaking about “Three Channels Through Which Hebrew was Transmitted Along the 2nd-19th Centuries.”

Famed radio personality and modern Hebrew expert Dr. Avshalom Kor will also be speaking about “Ambiguity in Ancient and Modern Hebrew.”

The program will take place on Nov. 15 from 10:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. Israel time, and will be live-streamed on B'nai Brith International's Facebook page.