Common information and rules for year calculation
The Jewish (or Hebrew/Judaic) calendar is a lunisolar calendar used in Israel. Generally it's used for religious purposes, but also on Israeli coins and bank notes.
Modern Israel's coins carry Hebrew dating formed from a combination of the 22 consonant letters of the Hebrew alphabet and should be read from right to left. Nevertheless, to get the correct output from the converter you must enter the symbols as you see them from left to right, which is not correct from the Hebrew point of view. This step was taken so Europeans wouldn't get confused, as many of them know nothing about the rules of the Hebrew language.
The Jewish New Year falls in September or October by Christian calendar reckoning. The Hebrew dating on the coins of modern Israel is 3760 years greater than the Christian dating; for instance, 5735 Hebrew is equivalent to 1975 AD; with the 5,000 assumed starting from 1948 AD (5708 Hebrew) until 1981 AD (5741 Hebrew), when full dates appear on the coins.
Nevertheless, Israeli coin experts say that even now, in the 21st century, the standard practice for writing the date in Hebrew is to imply the 5000.
Thus, the year 5735 (1975 AD) appears as 735 (). Explore it as follows: the first two characters from the right indicating the number of years in hundreds: tav (ת, 400), plus shin (ש, 300). The next is lamedh (ל, 30), followed by a separation mark (’’), which has the appearance of double quotation marks, and then heh (ה, 5).
The separation mark — generally similar to a single quotation mark through 5718 (1958 AD), and like a double quotation mark thereafter — serves the purpose of indicating that the letters form a number, not a word, and on some issues can be confused with the character yodh (י, 10), which in a stylized rendering can appear similar, although slightly larger and thicker.
Essential detail: it is a must to enter the thousands separation sign (') between the symbols «ת» and «ה» for coins minted since 1981, in spite of the fact that it doesn't actually appear on the coin's date inscription. If you omit this sign, you'll get an incorrect result.
Here is a visual reminder of the above rule:
Let us now sum it up. The first peculiarity of the Jewish calendar is the usage of letters instead of numbers. If one wants to manually convert the Hebrew number to Arabic numerals, one should firstly define the numerical value of every letter and then add them all up.
Again, Jewish script, like Arabic, is right-to-left-based. The separation sign for thousands looks like ('), this sign should be put just before the rightmost symbol of the Hebrew date inscription. The double mark ('') separates the units from the rest of the number, it is placed just after the leftmost symbol of the Hebrew date inscription. Here is an example: 1991 AD = 5751 Hebrew = = 1 + 50 + 300 + 400 + 1000×5 = 5751. And you can check this out with the Creounity Time Machine, by the way!
Well, now we know enough about the date format, let’s get down to the Jewish calendar itself.
Jewish chronology starts from the year when they believe the universe was created by God, to be precise, it falls on October 7th, 3761 BC. Thus, to get the Gregorian date from the Hebrew date, we have to subtract 3761. Truth be told, it’s better to subtract 3760, because October 7th is closer to the end of the year rather than to the beginning of the year.
Since both the Sun and the Moon have an influence upon the Jewish calendar, it is lunisolar. This is why the duration of the Jewish year is known to vary. As far as approximate calculations are concerned, that fact can be omitted, as the average year duration coincides with the Gregorian calendar. However, we have to take this into account, for a precise date calculation, so we must make use of a far more complicated algorithm.
The currency of the state of Israel is the new shekel. The shekel is divided into 100 agorot. The following coins are now in use: ½, 1, 2, 5 and 10 new sheqalim, as well as the 10 agorot coin. The 5 agorot coin can still be found in circulation, but was withdrawn on January 1, 2008.
Information about most recent updates of the converter
Update @January 2, 2011: reverse conversion now shows which (ordinal) year of the Hebrew calendar corresponds to the entered Gregorian year.
Update @June 16, 2011: in direct conversion, it is no longer necessary to enter the thousand separation sign before the Jewish numeral '5' standing for 5,000 (for coins minted after 1981 (to present day)). You can now put down the numerals as you see them on your Hebrew coin. Another new feature in direct conversion is as follows: it shows you which ordinal year of the Hebrew calendar corresponds to the entered Jewish numerals.