While the Hebrew language was revived and modernized into a spoken language led by Eliezer Ben Yehuda and others at the end of the nineteenth century, it has served as a unifying element for Jewish people for centuries.
In the Diaspora, Hebrew was replaced as a spoken language by most of the world’s Jews. Living among or alongside other nations, Jews either adopted the vernacular of the place they were living or created a new language by fusing the local language with elements of Hebrew (Yiddish for example).
Following the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE and the resulting growth of the Jewish Diaspora, an entire body of Hebrew literature grew expressing a yearning for Jews to return to the Land of Israel. Examples of this type of Hebrew literature are found in many of the prayers used in the daily Jewish service. In more recent years, especially after the birth of the State of Israel and the revival of Hebrew into a modern, spoken language, a wide variety of poets, novelists and other writers have contributed numerous works to the ever expanding cannon of Hebrew literature. Unlike the yearning to return to the Land of Israel expressed by early Hebrew writers, Hebrew literature has become representative of a wide variety of themes and motifs relating to both Jewish and Israeli life.