I just downloaded & installed TeXLive 2012 on my Windows 7 box, including Hebrew language support. I then tried to process the following document:

\L{Hello World}, שלום עולם.

And got the well-known:

(d:/texlive/2012/texmf-dist/tex/generic/babel/lhecmr.fd)name = jerus10, rootname = jerus, pointsize = 10 mktexmf: empty or non-existent rootfile!

kpathsea: Running mktexmf jerus10.mf

The command name is D:\texlive\2012\bin\win32\mktexmf Cannot find jerus10.mf.

! Font LHE/cmr/m/n/10=jerus10 at 10.0pt not loadable: Metric (TFM) file not found.

What are the step-by-step instructions for making pdfTeX+babel+Hebrew work after installing TeXLive?


  • Suggestions that I use LuaTeX/XeTeX instead are not relevant here (for various reasons). But if you're reading this question - you really should consider using XeTeX and Polyglossia instead of babel.
  • See also this question.
  • instructions which include both the Culmus and pre-Culmus fonts (Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, etc.) would be best.
  • @Joseph: Seeing how the question was asked 3 years ago, I'm not sure my elaborating would help that much. But let's just say - I shouldn't have to change the backend just to get Hebrew support. And, indeed, I can and I have sorted out the Hebrew support for pdfTeX with TeXLive on Windows; so switching backends is obviously overkill. Still, I recognize that it may be best to just use XeTeX and polyglossia to begin with.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 22:29

2 Answers 2


The following works, but is a poor hack. The reason is that what we "really" want to do is get TeX to use the Culmus fonts whenever possible (or maybe always), rather than the older Hebrew fonts.

It is based on the pertinent instructions in the babel package documentation, which @MarioSE's answer refers to, and is adapted to TeXLive 2012 (it had last been updated in 2005).

So, without further ado:

  1. Install TeXLive (let's suppose you've put it in C:\texlive) with Hebrew language support.

  2. Get the ivritex tarball (direct link: http://sourceforge.net/projects/ivritex/files/ivritex/ivritex-1.2.1/ivritex-1.2.1.tar.gz/download).

    Note: Do not get the ivritex-dist tarball, or the "latest version", or any such thing. Those include Culmus support and my instructions don't cover them unfortunately.

  3. From within the ivritex tarball, extract the contents of the fonts/hebfonts directory to C:\texlive\texmf-local\fonts\source\hebrew

  4. Create the directory C:\texlive\texmf-local\fonts\map\fontname.

  5. Create the file C:\texlive\texmf-local\fonts\map\fontname\special.map. Its contents should be as specified in section 10 of the instructions here. Ignore the preamble to section 10 and all other instructions, just copy the file contents to your special.map (and remove the extra indentation at the beginnings of lines).

  6. Update the TeX distribution filename database, the font maps and the formats, using the TeXLive distribution manager (under the Actions menu), or from the command line if you know how (using mktexlsr and friends).

That's it. The MWE in the question should now compile and produce a nice PDF. The font used for the Hebrew glyphs will be Jerusalem. This does not necessarily mean you're done; as you can see in the ivritex tarball or the more up-to-date culmus tarball at the ivritex download site, there's more we have not installed and configured.

  • Is this still needed when we now have XeTeX/LuaTeX? Commented May 9, 2013 at 17:47
  • @MartinSchröder: Note that this whole question is about babel, not polyglossia which is the future for Hebrew typesetting (and requires XeTeX). As for LuaTeX, I really can't say since I haven't used it. The example in the question you linked to above is too limited to judge the overall state of Hebrew support.
    – einpoklum
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 20:48
  • polyglossia and babel are/will be adapted to LuaTeX. Commented May 9, 2013 at 21:49

If you go to the babel package's CTAN site (available here) you'll notice there are a couple of important pdfs:

1) Package documentation files 1 & 2

2) An Installing support for Hebrew file

Please refer to Chapter 63 of the package documentation for specific information regarding the Hebrew language, and to Chapter 64 for information regarding right-to-left support.

Furthermore, the PDF "Installing support for Hebrew" describes step by step what you need to do in order to have everything up and running. Please really take some time to look at it, since it has all the answers you need.

  • Will do, but - why is that not part of the TeXLive Hebrew support package?
    – einpoklum
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 9:53
  • Ok, some of that works, but it's not the "right way" to do it: It doesn't include Omega font variants support, Hebrew type1 variants support, and of course no Culmus. Will write a more direct and succinct description below.
    – einpoklum
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 13:00

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