The Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, has introduced the study of Malayalam this semester. Malayalam, spoken in Kerala, in southern India, is one of the 22 official languages of India, spoken by around 37 million people.
Hebrew University students already have the opportunity to learn other southern Indian languages, such as Telugu and Tamil.
“There is a growing interest in India here and Malayalam is an important language in understanding the glorious culture of south India,” Chairman of Indian Studies department at the university, Yohanan Grinshpon, reported.
Ophira Gamliel has been appointed to teach at the department. Gamliel recently translated a book, ‘Oh Lovely Parrot’, on Jewish women’s songs in Malayalam into Hebrew and has just returned from Kerala after three years of work on her doctoral thesis there.
There are approximately 20,000 Cochin Jews in Israel. The community was enthusiastic about the introduction of Malayalam.
(Issue December 2007 / January 2008)