Polycarp and Captain Amazing:
I should have been more specific. You are correct, during the days of the first Temple and the Davidic dynasty, Hebrew was spoken all the time. Jewish tradition says that the reason for this was that when the Holy Ark was in its proper place, prophets were the religious leaders of the time, and the Holy Spirit dwelled in the Temple, Israel was by nature holy and therefore it was not inappropriate to use the Holy Language in everyday conversation.
By contrast, after the destruction of the first Temple, and the “departure” of the Divine Presence (as prophetically witnesses by Ezekiel), Israel’s capacity for holiness was diminished - note the end of prophecy at around that time. It was the leaders of those times who felt that Hebrew was no longer appropriate for inter-personal conversation, and should only be used when engaged in specifically holy works. The OP specifically asked about the time of the founder of Christianity, and I therefore responded appropriately for that period. Perhaps I should have used the term “Judeans” rather than “Israelites.”
They weren’t affiliated with the Reform or Conservative movement, if that’s what you mean by this question. As a matter of fact, until the founding of the state of Israel, the Reform movement, at least, (not sure about the Conservative) was extremely anti-Zionist in ideology.
Correct. I think it was at one of the early Zionist Congresses that the Zionists decided that modern Hebrew, as described by Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, would be the official language of the Zionist State.
It’s very much like Biblical Hebrew; the grammatical structure and most words are taken from the existing language of prayer and Torah. Sure, modern inventions required the coining of new words and idioms that have no Biblical precedent have been developed, but by and large a Yeshiva student could probably read an Israeli newspaper with little difficulty.