According to the babel package documentation (section 64), the default font used for Hebrew is Jerusalem which is a Metafont. Bold text is set in Dead Sea.

This results in weird looking text, such as this:

enter image description here

Notice the first two words from the right on the second line. Ideally it should look like this:

enter image description here

(unfortunately the author of that doesn't remember the settings he used)

I looked to no avail on how to set the bold font so it appears like the regular one only in bold.

As a last resort, I tried migrating from babel to XeTeX with bidi, but couldn't set the font (using fontspec) to the jerus10.mf file that comes with the babel package. Maybe if I could get a hold of a TrueType font that matches it.

EDIT: Here's a minimal example that illustrates the problem:

\usepackage[english, hebrew]{babel}
\bf שלום

\bf Hello

Which gets rendered like this:

enter image description here

  • Please add a minimal working example (MWE) that illustrates your problem. – doncherry Nov 21 '11 at 22:43
  • @doncherry done – daniel.jackson Nov 21 '11 at 23:18
  • 1
    Imho hebrew in standard latex is a mess. Use xetex + polyglossia. You can find some examples here in tex.stackexchange by searching for hebrew (which also shows some of the problems). Don't try to use the original metafont - try to find an otf/ttf version of your jerusalem font (as far as I can see it shouldn't be to difficult). – Ulrike Fischer Nov 22 '11 at 9:25
  • @UlrikeFischer: I actually did try looking for that font, no luck. – daniel.jackson Nov 22 '11 at 9:45
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    If I google for "jerusalem font" I get lots of hits. – Ulrike Fischer Nov 22 '11 at 11:37

As already mentioned using XeLaTeX and polyglossia is the only way to go. Nice fonts are available for free from the Culmus Project, the Society of Biblical Literature and SIL International. Btw., fonts from these three sources also work nicely with nikkud (vowel signs) and te'amim (cantillation signs). If I am not mistaken, the very nice Frank Ruehl font is even included in Windows.

Here is a short example which uses Culmus' David CLM:

% !TEX encoding = UTF-8 Unicode
% !TEX TS-program = xelatex
\setmainfont{David CLM} % put your font of choice right here

מָתֵמָטִיקָה היא המדע העוסק במושגים כגון כמות, מבנה, מרחב ושינוי

hebrew example

Unfortunately most (if not all) editors are still a pain in the a.. when it comes to writing Hebrew. For instance writing just the word "מתמטיקה" in bold face in texmaker looks like this:

\textbf{מָתֵמָטִיקָה} היא המדע העוסק במושגים כגון כמות, מבנה, מרחב ושינוי.
  • Very nice. After minimal changes I could get my original document to compile using your example. But now it has all these little quirks (that looked fine with Babel). For my next document I'll probably start with this approach but as of now there are just too many (some examples: parenthesis are backwards, some symbols show as squares, line numbers are missing when using algorithmic, etc.). – daniel.jackson Nov 22 '11 at 19:54
  • There is no need for \TeXXeTstate=1. – IRAN Nov 23 '11 at 12:24
  • You're right. I have removed it. – Moked Nov 23 '11 at 12:29

Well, to get your 'ideal' solution, you could install the Culmus Package - which changes the default Hebrew font to David, and the default bold font to David Bold - like in your example, I think.

But to answer your actual question, the place to do this would be in tex/generic/babel/lhecmr.fd (at least on my installation that's the location). Relevant snippet:

      {<-> jerus10 }{}
% etc. etc.
      {<-> deads10 }{}
      {<-> deads10 }{}

and of course there are more lines for more shapes. Unfortunately, it seems that a bold version of the Jerusalem font doesn't exist. See this listing of the fonts you can use. Someone has to actually create a bold version. If you're dead set against the dead sea (excuse the pun), try:

\hadgesh{מלל בעברית}.

to get a 'poor man's bold' of whatever font is being used.

PS - After 25 years, the babel file still says (test version: still liable to change) in the file version line...

  • I have Culmus installed and the David font it has looks great. But no idea how to load David CLM in conjunction to Babel, can you possibly attach a minimal example? – daniel.jackson Nov 22 '11 at 19:51
  • @daniel.jackson: If you install Culmus, the default font should change when using babel as well. Is that not what you're seeing? – einpoklum Nov 22 '11 at 20:58
  • No, everything looks exactly the same (no bold either). – daniel.jackson Nov 22 '11 at 21:51
  • @daniel.jackson: Hmmph. I don't remember having done anything to change the default. Try \usepackage{culmus} maybe? – einpoklum Nov 23 '11 at 18:36
  • Fails compilation, no such package. I've come to the conclusion that getting this to work properly is extremely tricky. For now I'll settle with what I have. In the future I might try to get the latest texlive and give this another go. Thanks for trying. – daniel.jackson Nov 25 '11 at 20:19

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