Hebrew is an ancient language that spans definitions and lifestyles across generations. But due to its nature to adapt, it’s survived millennia. When a language itself can teach the valuable lesson of changing to fit your current needs, it’s no surprise that the language has inspired you for baby’s name. But besides this running undercurrent, choosing a baby girl, boy, or gender-neutral name from Hebrew that means peace or strength will set baby up more directly for a life of taking what comes gracefully.
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How many people speak Hebrew?
Millions of people still speak Hebrew—approximately nine million people, actually! Though the population of Hebrew speakers is most concentrated in Israel, there are still 220,000 that call the United States home. Interestingly, just about five million of the nine are native speakers, making the rest of those millions some dedicated learners.
How old is the Hebrew language?
Hebrew isn’t the oldest spoken language by a couple thousand years, but it still is an ancient one! Coming in at around 3,000 years old, Hebrew has stood the test of time. This language came shortly after Aramaic—if you consider a century a short time—and cropped up around 1000 BCE. It didn’t always have a smooth ride though; like so many other languages, Hebrew was taken over by another; around 200 CE Hebrew took a backseat, becoming a literary and liturgical language, and didn’t experience a spoken-language revival until around the 1800s. After this revival came the recognition of Hebrew as the official language of Israel and it’s still going strong!
How old is Judaism?
Though Hebrew is around only 3,000 years old—the language almost inextricably linked to Judaism these days—Judaism actually predates it by about 500 years. Today, the areas where the first iterations of Judaism took root are Israel and the Palestinian territories. Previously, the region was considered eastern Canaan, and during the Bronze Age is when Yahwism began. Yahwism is a previous evolution of what modern Jews look to for comfort, and you can see remnants of this in old translations, such as “Yahweh is gracious” and plenty of others. So all the way from Yahwism, Judaism is approximately 3,500 years old.