Hebrew is the primary language of more than 5 million people worldwide. The majority live in Israel, where Hebrew is the official language along with Arabic, but there are significant numbers of Hebrew speakers in countries like the United States, France, and Canada with large Jewish communities. The Hebrew alphabet contains 22 characters, all consonants, and words are written from right to left. People who are fluent in the language do not need vowels to read Hebrew.
About the Hebrew language.
Hebrew is an ancient language. It was the original language used to write the Written Torah, known by Christians as the Old Testament. It now has a new, updated descendent called Modern Standard Hebrew—available here from Rosetta Stone.
The modern history of Hebrew.
There's a two-pronged history to how Modern Hebrew was revived from its relegate position of historical and official language of the Jewish people. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Haskalah movement—the European Jewish Enlightenment—encouraged Jews to learn secular subjects, to engage with the secular world by becoming involved in new fields such as art and science, and by learning Hebrew and European languages in order to do business with their non-Jewish neighbors. That said, while written Hebrew enjoyed a new life as Jews sought to recount biblical stories and write about contemporary events, European Jews of the time moved away from their mother tongue of Yiddish, which had become out of style and, frankly, looked down upon. Although it was never a dead language, Hebrew wasn't spoken as a mother tongue since the beginning of the second century CE. The revival of spoken Hebrew happened in Palestine in the late-nineteenth, early-twentieth century when Eliezer Ben-Yehuda wrote the first Modern Hebrew dictionary and established the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem. Ben-Yehuda was such a stern proponent of reviving the Hebrew language that he even prohibited his son from intermingling with anyone who spoke another language—making the boy the first native speaker of Modern Hebrew.
Does it sound like Greek to you?
There's a reason for that! Although their alphabets don't look alike, many letters in the Greek alphabet have similar names and occur in the same order as the comparable letters in the Hebrew alphabet: For example, the Greek alpha, beta, gamma are similar to the Hebrew aleph, bet, gimel. Hebrew uses a Semitic writing system—written from right to left—which does not include vowels. However, after the Romans expelled the Jews from Israel, and Hebrew literacy declined, rabbis were compelled to create a pointed text system, called nikkud, which still provides hints to readers about which vowel sounds are called for within the text.