Notes by Autumn Light

On Hebrew, English, translation, editing, and more—by Jonathan Orr-Stav

In which languages, besides Arabic, are Jews referred to as “Yahud”?

1 Comment

In ancient Persian—as spelled out in Old Hebrew Script on every modern Israeli sheqel coin, which is based on a Judean coin when Judea was part of the Persian Empire:

1180415_sheqel
The three letters are I-H-D (from right to left)—which is pronounced Yehud or Yahud.

It’s a curious design for the modern sovereign Israel to use, because although the script is that of the independent Judea (and Israel) that existed for centuries before the exile to Babylon, the name is the Persian word for Judea as an autonomous province in its empire (in the Hebrew language, the word for Judea is Yehudah—with five letters: יהודה). But people don’t remark on this, because 99.99% of Israelis—who are discouraged from learning to read Old Hebrew to avoid uncomfortable questions such as why it looks more like the Greek and Roman script than the conventional Square Hebrew alphabet—assume that it says sheqel.

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Author: יונתן אור-סתיו | Jonathan Orr-Stav

Hebrew-English translator, editor, author. מתרגם עברית–אנגלית, עורך באנגלית, וסופר.

One thought on “In which languages, besides Arabic, are Jews referred to as “Yahud”?

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