Hebrew is the traditional language of the Jewish people. Unlike English, Hebrew is read and written from right to left. There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. In addition, the language includes five final letters: When the letters khaf, mem, nun, pey, and tzade are the last letters of a word, they are written differently. Hebrew is a Semitic language-like Arabic and Aramaic-and like most ancient Semitic languages its alphabet has no vowels. However, sometime between the middle and end of the first millennium, rabbis known as the Masoretes instituted a system of dots and dashes to indicate how words were to be pronounced.
The earliest Hebrew texts date from the end of the second millennium BC.Hebrew was employed as both a written and spoken language until the fall of Jerusalem in 587 BC. The Bible (except for parts of Ezra and Daniel) is written in Hebrew.
Eliezer ben Yehuda is considered the father of Modern Hebrew. He developed a vocabulary for Modern Hebrew, incorporating words from ancient and medieval Hebrew, in addition to creating new words. In 1922, Hebrew became one of the official languages of British Mandate Palestine, and today it is a modern language spoken by the citizens of Israel and Jews around the world.