[tex-live] hebrew support

Jonathan Kew jonathan_kew at sil.org
Thu Jul 19 16:06:20 CEST 2007

On 17 Jul 2007, at 5:06 am, Dima Sorkin wrote:

> Hi.
>  I have some list of questions regarding the hebrew on new tex-live.
> I intend to install it on SuSe 10.2 or Fedora Core 4.
> All questions are regarding LaTeX.

One option you might consider is to use XeTeX, which directly  
supports Unicode and can work with whatever Unicode-encoded Hebrew  
fonts (OpenType, TrueType) you have installed in the SuSE or FC4  
desktop environment. This example assumes you've got Ezra SIL from  

   \usepackage{fontspec} % for easy font selection in xelatex
   \setmainfont[Script=Hebrew]{Ezra SIL} % or whatever is available  
in your desktop environment
   \usepackage{bidi} % not in TeX Live 2007, get it from CTAN
   \setRL % right-to-left direction (see bidi package doc)
   ...some hebrew text here, using unicode...

Process this with xelatex rather than pdflatex, and it should work.

Note that it can use whatever fonts are available in your desktop  
environment, rather than requiring them installed into the texmf  
directories. I don't know what is already included with SuSE or FC4,  
but they probably have at least one OpenType Hebrew font, or you can  
get ones like Ezra SIL or SBL Hebrew or others. Just drop the .ttf  
or .otf files into ~/.fonts, or install via the Gnome "Fonts" control  
panel (or KDE equivalent, I assume), and they should be available  
through fontspec.

It would be a little more work if you need Babel's functionality of  
changing "generated" text like "Chapter", "Figure", etc, to Hebrew,  
as Babel is not aware of xetex's Unicode support. For more advice,  
you'd do best to try the XeTeX mailing list <http://tug.org/mailman/ 



> 1) Is compiling documents written on unicode hebrew supported ?
>    Will the following work ?
>    \usepackage[hebrew,english]{babel}
>    \usepackage[utf-8]{inputenc}
> 2) Do I have to install hebrew fonts (culmus fonts, jerus, etc)
>    additionally to what comes with tex-live ? Does it matter if I
>    work with ISO-8859-8 encoding or unicode (if supported)
> 3) On SuSe 10.2 and Fedora Core 4 (with latest teTex installed there),
>    I had a problem that for an 'article' document written in hebrew,
>    the pdflatex or ps2pdf crashed if document size is more than 2  
> pages.
>    Is this problem something known ? Was it solved ?
>    I was recommended to use the 'amsart' class of the document when
>    writing on hebrew. Didn't tried yet, but what can it change ?
> Thank you.
> Regards,
>  Dima.
> P.S.
>  Please CC me on answers, I'm not in the list.

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