Naftali ("Harry") Herz Tur-Sinai ("Torczyner") (1886 - 1973) MP

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Naftali ("Harry") Herz Tur-Sinai ("Torczyner")'s Geni Profile

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Birthplace: Lviv, Ukraine
Death: Died in Israel
Occupation: Bible scholar, philologist, author
Managed by: Arthur Lerner
Last Updated:

About Naftali ("Harry") Herz Tur-Sinai ("Torczyner")

Naftali Herz Tur-Sinai (Hebrew: נפתלי הרץ טור-סיני‎; born Harry Torczyner; 1886-1973) was a Bible scholar, an author, and linguist instrumental in the revival of Hebrew as a modern, spoken language. He was the first president of the Academy of the Hebrew Language, which was established following a decree of the Knesset from its formation until his death, and founder of the Historical Dictionary Project of the Academy.

Tur-Sinai was born in Lwów, Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine) in 1886. He moved to Vienna, Austria, in 1892 and then to Berlin, Germany in 1919 to be a lecturer at the High School for Jewish Studies in Berlin. He was in Palestine from 1910-1912 and participated in founding the "Hebrew Gymnasium" in Jerusalem, and "Herzliya Gymnasium" in Tel Aviv. He was a lecturer at the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City in 1929-1930. In 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany, Harry and his family moved to Palestine. He was appointed November 5, 1933 as professor of Hebrew to occupy the Chaim Nachman Bialik Chair at Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He was professor of Semitic languages at the University and a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

He and Eliezer Ben-Yehuda are considered Israel’s two foremost philologists.

Of his many books, those translated into English include The Revival of the Hebrew Language and The Book of Job: A New Commentary. He authored a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into German, published in February 1935. In 1959, Tur-Sinai finished the 50-year 17-volume Hebrew dictionary project begun by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda.

He led the first scholarly study of the ancient Lachish letters, found on potsherds (jars) in Tel Adduwwier, dating back 2500 years to the time of Jeremiah and confirming biblical references to that period.

He died during the October Yom Kippur War of 1973. The following words from his will were read at his funeral:

"Man comes from earth and returns to earth. The days of life are counted and few, and no one lives forever. As far as possible, however, and in spite of times of crisis -- I have lived a happy life indeed. I wish to thank my laste wife and my children -- may they live for long -- for their share in causing this happiness and for their love and contribution to it. At the same time also wish to thank my relatives and colleagues for their kindness towards me.

   It is my wish not to be mourned and not to be grieved over, since i have tasted life to the full. An now, when my cup has run full in ripe old age -- I am going twoards whatever is in store, knowing that to expect and ready to render account.  In order to avoid burden and trouble from the public I should like not to be eulogized at my funeral.  My wish is to be buried in the grave by Giveat-Shaul, near my late wife, in the plot acquired for that purpose after her death." 
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Naftali ("Harry") Herz Tur-Sinai ("Torczyner")'s Timeline

1886
November 13, 1886
Lviv, Ukraine
1973
October 17, 1973
Age 86
Israel
October 19, 1973
Age 86
Har-Hamenuchot, Israel
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