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December 22: The Hope

December 22, 2013
220px-HerzimberIsrael’s national anthem, “Hatikvah” (The Hope), was written as a nine-stanza poem on this date in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber (1856-1909). His poem celebrated the founding of Petah Tikva, one of the first Jewish settlements in Ottoman Palestine, and was published in Imber’s first book, Barkai (Morning Star), in 1886, while Imber was living in Jerusalem as secretary to Sir Laurence Oliphant. “Hatikvah” was adopted as an anthem by the Hovevei Zion (Lovers of Zion) movement and then by the Zionist movement at its first congress, in 1897. When modern Israel was established in 1948, Imber’s song unofficially proclaimed the national anthem, but it took until November 2004 before the Knesset made it official. The melody was based on “La Mantovana”, a 16th-century Italian song that Samuel Cohen adapted as a setting for the poem in 1888. To hear Barbra Streisand singing it, look below.
עוד לא אבדה תקותנו, ‘Od lo avdah tikvateinu, Our hope is not yet lost,
התקוה הנושנה, Hatikvah hannoshanah, The ancient hope,
לשוב לארץ אבותינו, Lashuv le’eretz avoteinu, To return to the land of our fathers,
לעיר בה דוד חנה. La‘ir bah david k’hanah. The city where David encamped. —Hatikvah