Groups try to revive Aramaic, language of both Abraham, Jesus
- Groups try to revive Aramaic, language of both Abraham, Jesus
By Gil Sedan
JERUSALEM, Aug. 25 (JTA) What do these three locales have in
common: a remote village in Syria; Sydney, Australia; and the Old
City of Jerusalem? The answer is: Aramaic, a dominant language in the ancient world.
Now, Jews, Christians, Arabs and others are trying to preserve the
language of our sages and of Jesus
And they are doing so not only in the Middle East. In Sydney,
Christian emigrants from Syria and local academics have joined
forces in an effort to preserve the language, which for all intents
and purposes is dead.
"There is a real danger that the language will be forgotten, and we
shall do everything possible to preserve it," said Archbishop
Sewerios Malki Murad, head of the Assyrian Church in Israel, the
West Bank and Jordan.
By "everything possible" he means even cooperating with the small
number of Jews who used to speak the language in their native
Kurdistan until they immigrated to Israel several decades ago......
.......So far, Jews and Arabs have not joined forces to preserve the
language they used to share; each community works separately in an
uphill effort. The most impressive effort is that of the Syrian
Christian community in Sydney, which publishes newspapers and books
in Aramaic and even operates a radio station in Aramaic.
The scene in Israel is gloomier. Archbishop Murad of the Assyrian
Church in Jerusalem admitted that he was not even aware of the fact
that some Jews spoke the language. He said he was interested in
closing ranks in defense of the language but even Murad and his
small Jerusalem community switch to Arabic as soon as services are
Thomas Daniel (Reji)