Herzl was way, way off when he said that the Jewish state should use German and not Hebrew, Hebrew being, according to Herzl, too challenging. After day 1 of German class (the day after turning in my grades for the French class I co-taught–this is an action-packed summer, linguistically at least) I can say for sure that Herzl did not know what he was talking about. Hebrew does not have fifty different ways of combining an article and a noun. Words in Hebrew might well be written in silly letters, but they are, in most cases, quite short. Granted, for native German speakers (or German-influenced 19th C Central European Jews), German would have been easier than Hebrew, which was kind of Herzl’s situation, but objectively, ordering a train ticket in German has to be tougher than doing the same in Hebrew.
After my class, I met up with Jo for dinner at the Second Avenue Deli. Somewhere between the matzo ball and the kreplach, I’m hoping something of German or German-like language started to sink in.
Cross posted from What Would Phoebe Do?