A children's class teaching the Biblical language Aramaic, a language written in Syriac script that is rare in the modern world. Photo: The Jewish Daily Forward.
Aram, an Israeli Maronite Christian group, seeks formal recognition for their cultural and ethnic heritage. Israel’s Interior Ministry currently considers the group Arab, though The Jewish Daily Forward
quoted Shady Khalloul, Aram’s founder, as saying “We are not Arabs. We existed long before Arabs came to this region, and it’s about time we get state recognition.” Recognized as a non-Arab group by the Lebanese government, the Maronites in Israel supplement their goal for national identity with a linguistic and historical education campaign. In the Israeli village Jish, children are taught Aramaic, a Semitic language once spoken across the Near East. Today, Aramaic is primarily spoken as a prayer language, though select communities, including a large population of Middle Eastern immigrants in Sweden, speak the language in their daily lives. There are only a few elderly native Aramaic speakers in Israel today, but resources from Swedish Aramaic communities are aiding the language revival in Israel.
Related Resources in the BAS Library
See “Strata: Where Aramaic Is Spoken.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Jan/Feb 2008, 12-13.
See Fitzmyer, Joseph A. “Did Jesus Speak Greek?.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Sep/Oct 1992, 58-63, 76-77.
See Mikaya, Adam. “Earliest Aramaic Inscription Uncovered in Syria.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Jul/Aug 1981, 52-53.
Posted in Cultural Heritage.