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Mar 14, 2005 — Yeshiva University professor Richard C. Steiner of Kew Gardens Hills achieved a once-in-a-lifetime recognition for his work as a Hebrew linguist this January, when Israel’s Academy of the Hebrew Language invited him to become one of the first two non-Israeli members in some 40 years.

The Academy of the Hebrew Language prescribes standards for modern Hebrew grammar, orthography, transliteration, and punctuation based upon the study of Hebrew’s historical development. Its decisions are binding upon all of Israel’s governmental agencies, including the Broadcasting Authority.

The Academy had to amend its constitution to allow for the election of the two foreign members, Dr. Steiner and Dr. Angel Saenz-Badillos, a European scholar. They will join other leading experts in the areas of languages, linguistics, Jewish studies, and Bible. Members of the Academy also include poets, writers, and translators.

Dr. Steiner has been a professor of Semitic languages and literature at YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies since 1975. In 1999, he served as the Gerard Weinstock Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies at Harvard University, and he is there again this semester as a Starr Fellow. He has taught Biblical exegesis and philology, comparative Semitic linguistics, and several Semitic languages, including Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic.