Devora (Jonas) Ben Yehuda

Famous for:


Hebrew language revival

Devora (Jonas) Ben Yehuda (1855-1891) was the first wife of Eliezer Ben Yehuda, who revived Hebrew into a modern spoken language. When their first child was born, in 1882, they agreed to raise him speaking only in Hebrew. The famous story goes that one day Eliezer came home to hear Devora absently singing a Russian lullaby to calm the crying child, and he flew into a rage because she wasn’t using Hebrew. This caused Itamar to cry out “Abba!” which means “Dad”, and thus he began speaking Hebrew. Devora died of tuberculosis in 1891, leaving behind five children. 


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