Luka Manevich

My name is Luka Manevich, I was born in the former Soviet Union. The place of my birth is a city far to the north called Yakutsk. This is a capital of a huge region in Siberia. It is the largest city on Earth, built in the permafrost zone, and seems to be the only place that has a mammoth museum. Their remains are found in the permafrost of Yakutia in large number. In winter, the temperature here drops to -65 degrees Celsius, and in summer, it rises to +35. But I don’t remember my hometown at all, because two years after my birth I ended up in Moscow, where my childhood and youth passed. The second time I came to Yakutsk was many years later, when I worked as a translation adviser in Yakut translation project.

During my service in the Soviet Army – I was 19 at the time – I realized that I should dedicate my life to serving the Word of God and that I needed to immerse myself in it through the ancient languages of the original text. That is why, having returned from the army, I dropped out of the faculty of Economic Cybernetics at Moscow University and enrolled at the Philological faculty, the Department of ancient classical languages – Ancient Greek and Latin. Then I studied Hebrew at the Hebrew University in Moscow, and after that I taught all these three languages in various educational institutions, including my Alma Mater, the Moscow University.

In 1998, I joined the Bible Society in Russia as a translator and editor in a major project on translating the Old Testament into modern Russian. The project lasted more than 15 years. Those were wonderful years of my life; a time of hard creative work, searching and finding, a time when my children were growing up. Then, I participated as an exegetical advisor in many translation projects into minor languages of the former Soviet Union and Russia: Kumyk, Buryat, Ossetian, Yakut. I was also a leader and exegetical advisor in a project on translation of the New Testament into the sign language for deaf people.

In the spring of 2022, my life changed dramatically. I was forced to leave Russia in a hurry, leaving behind my beloved job, friends, and even family. With just one suitcase of personal belongings and a very limited amount of money in my pocket, I arrived in the Holy Land, in Israel. But there was something much more valuable in my luggage: years of experience in biblical work and a deep faith that everything in our lives happens according to His will and plan. Having Jewish roots, I soon received Israeli citizenship. My first refuge in my new country was the lovely Home for Bible Translators. Indeed, here I found my second family. Fortunately, my first family soon joined me here in Israel too.

At JCBT I immersed myself in my favorite job, teaching Biblical Hebrew. At the time the JCBT was preparing for the Spring Semester 2023 of Advanced Study Program for Consultants and CITs. It was necessary to determine the candidates for the training. To participate in the program, the future student had to meet high requirements, including having enough knowledge of the Biblical Hebrew language. Thus, all applicants had to prepare for and successfully pass some introductory examination in Hebrew. As part of the course preparation, each student had to complete several levels of two educational programs successfully: BibleMesh and Biblingo. My task was to assist the participants at all stages of the exam preparation. Classes were conducted in Zoom, separately with each student. This allowed me to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each applicant and to create an individual plan and training strategy for each. The majority of the applicants successfully coped with the introductory course and passed the entrance exam. Intensive training for preliminary preparation helped significantly improve results for the main stage of learning.

The Study Program for Consultants and CITS started in February with my lecture course called Advanced Reading of Biblical Hebrew texts. It lasted for a month.

The course was designed to meet specific training needs of translation consultants and CIT. It focused on developing skills of reading Hebrew Bible and on translation/consulting practice. During the lessons the students learned to analyze and recognize the grammar forms, peculiarities, and constructions of the Hebrew text. Simultaneously they studied the typical problems and underwater stones the translators and consultants usually meet in various translation projects. Special attention was paid to a number of difficult places of the Hebrew Old Testament and to the most reliable solutions for such cases accepted by majority of biblical scholars. In the practical classes the students acted as translators into their mother tongue and as translation consultants in turn, discussing with each other problems and difficulties that emerge both in translating and consulting. During the course some basic language tools and advantages of the Paratext program were explained as well.

The course turned out to be extremely successful. I managed to structure it in such a way that it would best meet practical needs of the consultants. More than a half of the students expressed a desire to continue with advanced reading of biblical Hebrew texts as an elective. Currently, while students are undergoing training in Israel, the continuation of my February course will start for them, but now in a face-to-face format.

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