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Origins of the Phrase Hag Sameah

The Academy of the Hebrew Language has an interesting post about the origins of the phrase חג שמח/Ḥag Sameaḥ. It turns out that this phrase is relatively new, with the first evidence of its use coming only in the twentieth century. הברכה “חג שמח” שגורה על לשוננו בתקופת החגים, אך לא תמיד היא הייתה חלק […]

Prof. Angel Sáenz-Badillos

Prof. Angel Sáenz-Badilloshe, the important scholar of Hebrew and author of A History of the Hebrew Language, has passed away. The following is from H-Judaic: H-Judaic is greatly saddened to learn of the passing of Prof. Angel Sáenz-Badillos (1940-2013), Director of the Real Colegio Complutense at Harvard University and Professor of Hebrew at Departmento de […]

Hebrew in Medieval Europe

In Haaretz there is an article by Ephraim Shoham-Steiner that describes the mounting evidence for the use of Hebrew in the public sphere in Medieval Europe. Shoham-Steiner discussed a number of important archaeological discoveries in Germany, among them the “Hebrew Cesspit” discovered in Cologne, and over a thousand tombstones with Hebrew inscriptions from Wurzberg. The […]

The Brothers Grimm, Goethe, and Biblical Hebrew

The Academy of the Hebrew Language has been increasing its web presence recently. They have an updated web site, along with a Twitter account, and a Facebook page. Today they posted a link to a post (Heb.) from their website that explains the history behind the modern Hebrew phrase, כחוט השני. The phrase occurs twice […]

The Origins of Hanukkiyah

A number of years ago I wrote a post about the origins of the word חנוכייה/Hanukkiyah. I just updated it with some new information and two images of early appearances of the word in print. חג אורים שמח. The post can be found here.

Got Hebrew?

From Haaretz: Tempers are still boiling over a conference about Israel studies that took place this summer, in which speakers were initially asked to lecture in English. Though the organizers of the annual conference of the international Association for Israel Studies eventually allowed renowned Israeli writer Sami Michael to deliver a speech about racism in […]

A 13th c. Jewish Bathroom

A few days ago David Assaf of Tel Aviv University reported (Hebrew) on his blog, Oneg Shabbat, about a most interesting archaeological find in the German city of Köln/Cologne. Köln was know to have an established Jewish community in the Middle Ages, and while digging in the Jewish Quarter, archaeologists discovered among other things a mikveh […]

Hebrew Manuscript Exhibition at Columbia University

Another nice exhibition of Hebrew Manuscripts this Fall in NYC. (hat tip)

Medieval Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries

The Jewish Museum will be having an exhibition this Fall and Winter (September 14, 2012 – February 03, 2013), Crossing Borders: Medieval Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries. Crossing Borders features a superb selection of some sixty Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic manuscripts from Oxford University’s Bodleian Libraries, one of the world’s richest collections of manuscripts and […]

The Origins of Shabbat Challah

This past Shabbat my wife asked “Since when have Jews called the bread that we eat on Shabbat ḥallah (חלה)?” I had no idea what was the answer, so during the past few days I did a little searching and this is what I came up with. Many people associate Shabbat ḥallah with the ḥallah […]

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