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Our Jewish Hearing Friends in Our Deaf Circle

Eva (Eve) Dicker Eiseman is a CODA, the eldest of two children in her family, and the co-author of a book "Our Father Abe" which she wrote with her brother, Harvey L. Barash. Eiseman has a master's degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University and a certificate of completion in Family Therapy from the Family Therapy Training Institute in Milwaukee, WI. She worked many years as a teacher of the Deaf. She was a Supervising Teacher in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing program at Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan, Wl where her father had attended. She is a charter member of Wisconsin Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (WISRID) and has worked as an interpreter educator at the University of Wisconsin and as an interpreter in private practice.

Growing Up
"My parents are Abraham Morris Barash (deceased) and Hilda Nathanson Barash," Eiseman explained. "They were both born in Russia and came to the United States as children with their parents. My parents were an integral part of the Madison Wisconsin Deaf community and this was the environment I grew up in Although they belonged to a synagogue, the world they socialized with was the Deaf Community We spent many hours at the local Deaf club, Deaf picnics and our home was always open to Deaf and Hard of Hearing friends."

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Jewish Deaf-Blind Community

Jewish Deaf-Blind people are a small segment of the Deaf community. Overall, less than 1% of the U.S. population is Deaf-Blind, and even fewer are Jewish, but Deaf-Blindness has a huge impact on communication and mobility. There is the American Association of the Deaf-Blind (AADB) in Silver Spring, MD which advocates for the needs of Deaf-Blind people and services such-as the Helen Keller National Center in Sands Point, NY, but there is no national advocacy organization for Jewish Deaf-Blind people. Resources designed for Jewish Blind people assume knowledge of Hebrew language and Judaism that Deaf Blind people may not have. As youth, Jewish Deaf Blind children face obstacles in learning about Judaism that go beyond those faced by Deaf people. As adults, they face obstacles participating, in Jewish events.

Common Types of Deaf-Blindness
The most common form of Deaf-Blindness in young people is Usher's Syndrome, deafness with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). The first symptom of RP is night blindness, which means difficulty seeing at night. In the final stage, the person's vision narrows to a "tunnel", hence the popular term for RP is "tunnel vision." People with Usher's inherit it from both parents; those who inherit from only one parent are called "carriers" and do not develop Usher's themselves.

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