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Hebrew is the liturgical language of Judaism (termed lashon ha-kodesh, "the holy tongue"), the language in which the Hebrew scriptures (Tanakh) were composed, and the daily speech of the Jewish people for centuries. By the fifth century BCE, Aramaic, a closely related tongue, joined Hebrew as the spoken language in Judea.[41] By the third century BCE, Jews of the diaspora were speaking Greek. Modern Hebrew is now one of the two official languages of the State of Israel along with Arabic.

Hebrew was revived as a spoken language by Eliezer ben Yehuda, who arrived in Palestine in 1881. It hadn't been used as a mother tongue since Tannaic times. For over sixteen centuries Hebrew was used almost exclusively as a liturgical language, and as the language in which most books had been written on Judaism, with a few speaking only Hebrew on the Sabbath. For centuries, Jews worldwide have spoken the local or dominant languages of the regions they migrated to, often developing distinctive dialectal forms or branching off as independent languages. Yiddish is the JudŠo-German language developed by Ashkenazi Jews who migrated to Central Europe, and Ladino is the JudŠo-Spanish language developed by Sephardic Jews who migrated to the Iberian peninsula. Due to many factors, including the impact of the Holocaust on European Jewry, the Jewish exodus from Arab lands, and widespread emigration from other Jewish communities around the world, ancient and distinct Jewish languages of several communities, including Gruzinic, JudŠo-Arabic, JudŠo-Berber, Krymchak, JudŠo-Malayalam and many others, have largely fallen out of use.

The three most commonly spoken languages among Jews today are English, modern Hebrew, and Russian. Some Romance languages, such as French and Spanish, are also widely used.