The young nation of Israel has, in recent years, witnessed a dwindling of its founding generation—from the passing of statesmen, like Shimon Peres, to the death last week of novelist and political activist Amos Oz. Oz was 79; Israel is but 70. Oz was old enough to witness Israel’s fight for its independence, and now his death turns the page on yet another chapter of its improbable resurrection — with an old language that became new again. Oz had a lot to do with that. He imbued Hebrew with a literary style and gave it a novelistic voice, finding new ways to maneuver the aleph and bet so that a once purely liturgical language suddenly possessed a richly lyrical descriptive power.