What was the highest percentage of Jews who spoke Arabic?
In 1100, 97% of the world’s Jews spoke Arabic.
Which iconic Jewish prayers were written under the explicit influence of Arabic and in Arabic forms?
L’cha dodi, Adon Olam and many others
How did Arabic shape Hebrew?
In medieval Andalusia (Moorish Spain) Hebrew grammar was re-imagined as an Arabic language. This is the way we study Hebrew to this day. Additionally, the Hebrew lexicon was expanded with many loanwords and innovations coming from the Arabic language. The way we think of Hebrew vowels was shaped by Arabic (in ways that don’t quite as much sense in Hebrew as they do in Arabic).
Which famous Jews were Arabic speaking Jews?
In the Middle Ages it would be easier and shorter to list those who weren’t. Prominent Arabic-speaking Jews include the greatest Jew since Moses the Giver of the Torah, Moses Maimonides, philosopher, royal physician, codifier of Jews law, and pre-eminent communal leader.
Physician, pharmacological genius, statesman and linguist Hasdai ibn Shaprut
Military leader, poet, statesman and rabbi, Shmuel Hanagid
And many, many more.
Did Arabic shape Hebrew or did Hebrew shape Arabic?
In other words, Biblical Hebrew predates Arabic by 1,000 years and the Quran by 1,500 years so any influence flowed from Hebrew to Arabic.
Rabbinic Hebrew was contemporaneous with early Arabic although not always in the same geographic region.
Medieval Hebrew was formed in Arab lands and under clear Arabic influence.
The lexicon of Modern Israeli Hebrew includes many Arabic expressions and words. Then again, Palestinian speech is influenced by Hebrew.
Which Jewish civilization reads Hebrew most like Arabic?
The Yemenites’ pronunciation of Hebrew is the closest to Arabic of all Jewish civilizations. Their Hebrew is also considered the most authentic.
If there are so many cognates between Hebrew and Arabic and knowledge of Arabic is essential for a broad understanding of Hebrew and Jewish culture why is Rabbi Davis’ seminary course the only such course. Why is no other seminary offering Arabic to rabbinic students and other serious students?
The suppression of Arabic in Israel and the Jewish community in general is a political story. However, re-discovering this history and the Jewish Arabic cultural heritage is just a matter of taking the time to open some doors and look inside at the treasures within.
What percentage of the population in the Holy Land — Eretz Yisrael — speak Arabic as their native language?
Approximately 50% of the population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea (Israel-Palestine) are Palestinian Arabs.
What percentage of Israeli Jews — including the 40+% who families originate in Arab countries — can read a book in Arabic?