Rabbis mind the language

By Simon Rocker, November 3, 2011

What must be the world's first rabbinically supervised English dictionary is about to be published by none other than Oxford University Press.

A special edition of the Oxford English Dictionary for Schools has been approved for exclusive use in strictly Orthodox schools.

OUP agreed the idea with the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, which stumped up the cash to underwrite an initial 2,000 copies.

In the Charedi version, you will find no "homosexual": "gay" is explained simply as "cheerful and bright" with the note that this is "old use". "Evolution" is defined as "gradual change into something different" without reference to the scientific theory.

But a word such as "linjgerie" does make the rabbinic cut.

The UOHC's Chanoch Kesselman says that Charedi families have found it difficult to use dictionaries which contain entries they felt unsuitable.

The new dictionary, - available to Charedi schools from January - has, he says, been "vetted by a team of Charedi rabbis, and many words which are deemed to be inappropriate have been omitted".

Last updated: 11:58am, November 3 2011