Eliezer
Ben Yehuda

Ben Yehuda was a lexicographer, newspaper editor, and the driving spirit behind the revival of Hebrew. He was born in Luzhki, now Belarus. Reading the Hebrew language newspaper HaShahar, he became acquainted with the early movement of Zionism and concluded that the revival of the Hebrew language in the Land of Israel could unite all Jews worldwide. He raised his son, Ben-Zion ("son of Zion") entirely in Hebrew. His son became the first native speaker of modern Hebrew as a mother tongue.

Eliezer Ben Yehuda

The ceremony in Glubokoe

During the ceremony in Glubokoe

The participants next to Ben Yehuda's statue

A commemorative plaque in Ben Yehuda's birthplace Luzhki

Gil Hovav and Chaim Chesler with traditional Belorusian bread

Limmud FSU founder Chaim Chesler and Limmud FSU Executive Director Roman Kogan during the ceremony

Gil Hovav during his speech with "Thanks for Hebrew" sign

Gil Hovav during his speech at the ceremony

Limmud FSU Belarus 2014

Honoring Eliezer Ben Yehuda in Glubokoe

"In our family, we rate cities by the size of the street honoring Eliezer. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv rank high, Haifa not so much. Your town scores pretty high, though"
- Gil Hovav

The special ceremony, which launched the second Limmud FSU Belarus, was held at the main square of Glubokoe, located 100 miles north of Minsk, where Ben Yehuda learned Jewish studies and where his wife was born.

Israeli delegation attending the event near a statue honoring Ben Yehuda, which was erected in 2010, included Gil Hovav, Ben Yehuda’s great-grandson and a celebrity chef and food critic in Israel, and Ambassador to Belarus Yosef Shagal. The ceremony featured a municipal marching band and choir.

"Beyond being a great man and a visionary, my great-grandfather was also a man who was very much preoccupied with being respected," Hovav said, "He would get into fights with people who he thought should show him more respect, and he rarely won in his lifetime." Hovav added that: "In our family, we rate cities by the size of the street honoring Eliezer. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv rank high, Haifa not so much. Your town scores pretty high, though."

Hovav also unveiled a plaque in memory of Ben Yehuda in his birthplace of Luzhki, together with Limmud FSU leadership.