Promoting Hebrew Language, Culture in the Diaspora

The Lord God has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. Isaiah 50:4 (The Israel Bible™)

The Council for Hebrew Language and Culture in North America is launching a month-long festival as part of its mission to promote Hebrew as a common global Jewish language.

Called Hagigah Ivrit (“The Celebration of Hebrew”), it will run from March 9 to April 7.

Sponsored by the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life and the World Zionist Organization, the festival will feature arts and educational events to encourage people throughout the Diaspora to learn the language of modern Israel as a way of creating a worldwide Jewish connection.

Teaching and promoting Hebrew among Jews in North America and the world is the most powerful way to bring together Jews from all over the world and create a global Jewish community,” said Rabbi Andrew Ergas, chair of the board of the Council for Hebrew Language and Culture in North America. “Hebrew language and culture have been crucial parts of Jewish identity for centuries, and our goal is to bring Jews together by reintroducing them to their Hebrew roots. Teaching Hebrew to Americans of all backgrounds is a sure way to show concretely the vibrancy and humanity of Israeli life and culture.”

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In New York alone, more than 40 events planned for the month-long celebration.

The celebration’s main event will be “The Hebrew Choir Festival 2019” on Sunday, March 24, at the 92 Street Y in Manhattan with New York-area Hebrew charter-school and Jewish day-school choirs performing Hebrew songs. The choir festival will honor the memory of Arik Einstein, whose work shaped the landscape of Israeli music for decades.

Another event in the month-long celebration of Hebrew will be the Keshet Circus at Congregation Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side on March 31, organized with the Israeli-American Council (IAC) New York. The circus, a favorite for parents and children, will engage young readers with Hebrew language and Israeli storytime favorites. Children are also encouraged to dress in costumes to participate in the event’s excitement and whimsy.

Other events throughout the country will include performances by popular veteran Israeli musicians such as Ehud Banai; contemporary performers like Ethiopian Israeli Gilo Yalo and the Anbessa Orchestra; films including “Isha Ovedet” (“Working Woman”); an Israeli Film Festival; and a Shabbat meal by celebrity Israeli chef Eden Grinshpan.