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Sacred Speakers: Language and Culture among the ultra-Orthodox in Israel

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Sacred Speakers

Language and Culture among the ultra-Orthodox in Israel

Simeon Baumel

248 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-062-5 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2006)

eISBN 978-1-78238-932-3 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook from these vendorsRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


"... this work performs an invaluable service by helping to shed light on a rapidly growing sector of Jewish society that has until recently received little attention from linguists."  ·  Studies in Contemporary Jewry

“This is an important and useful exercise with respect to understanding more about contemporary Jewish separatist groups.”  ·  European Judaism

“This is a comprehensive book about ultra-Orthodox Jewry which is of great interest and illuminating. It presents new findings and offers important insights for the understanding of the linguistic, cultural and social dynamics of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox.”  ·  Eliezer Ben-Rafael, Tel-Aviv University


Despite its outwardly static and traditional appearance, the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) world is engaged in a constant cultural dialogue with modernity. This dialogue is exceptionally visible in the realm of language as shown in this study that examines the language and culture of four ultra-Orthodox groups found in Israel: the Ashkenazi (European) Mitnagdim-Lithuanians, and the Oriental Sefaradi Haredim. After the presentation of the historical background of the four sects, the author analyzes the public and private domains, focusing on language as used in many different forms and situations, and on the management of language. He furthermore compares the language policies of British, American, and French Haredim belonging to the Habad, Gur, Mitnagdic and Sefaradi sects to those in Israel and finds many similarities between the groups. The book concludes with the proposal of an interdisciplinary model, based on the Haredi case study, which can be used by language planners worldwide to understand the issues of language maintenance and loss among ethnic and ethno-religious minorities.

Simeon D. Baumel was born in the United States and moved to Israel in 1969 where he studied organic chemistry and taught in the field for many years before completing a Ph.D. in linguistics at Bar Ilan University. He is the coordinator of EFL studies at Achva College, Beer Tuvia and has written a number of articles dealing with language and culture among Jewish minority populations.

Subject: Jewish StudiesCultural Studies (General)
Area: Middle East & Israel


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