1. Skip to Menu
  2. Skip to Content
  3. Skip to Footer

We're Deaf and Do Mivtzoim

Mivtzoim1COLLive
Community News Service
By Yehoshua Soudakoff
Oct 30, 2011

Lubavitch bochurim Yehoshua Soudakoff and Isser Lubecki are both deaf and use that fact to spread Yiddishkeit.

Obviously, in Lubavitch, doing mivtzoim during Sukkos is nothing unique. Countless Jews all over the world have been touched by the mere(!) shaking of the lulav and esrog.

But this year, I think something unique did happen over Sukkos.

My chavrusa, Isser Lubecki, and I made our way to Washington, D.C., right after Shabbos Chol Hamoed ended and spent the next forty eight hours on mivtzoim mode.

First on our agenda was a Sukkos party organized by the local Jewish deaf community of the D.C. area (the organization is known as the WSJD – Washington Society of the Jewish Deaf).

The event had about 40 people in attendance, and a kosher lunch was provided. It was our honor to be able to attend the party and add to the event by giving a short Sukkos-themed dvar Torah. And this was in addition to shaking the lulav with the attendees and signing the brochos in sign language.

Oh, did I mention that my chavrusa and I are both deaf? Yeah, that might have probably been why they were delighted to meet us. ("Oh, wow! Deaf rabbinical students! We might need you down here after you graduate...")

Anyways, that evening, we made a short detour in our itinerary to stop by at the house of a friend we knew, and convinced him to come out of his home and dance in the streets. After all, who ever said Simchas Beis Hashoevah was only for Kingston Avenue?

Read more...

The quest for the perfect baby

PerfectBabyHaaretz.com
Published 03:54 18.10.11
Latest update 03:54 18.10.11
By Meir Brezis

Should parents be able to sue doctors for failing to prevent the birth of a child with a defect? That is a question facing the Supreme Court, which has been asked to recognize 'wrongful birth'.

The ultra-sound test showed a cyst on the embryo's brain. My daughter-in-law pondered whether to terminate the pregnancy. According to the statistics, this finding usually has no significance. But is that enough to assuage the anxiety that the child might be born with a defect? Three years ago this grandchild was born - a charming, cheerful, beloved and amazingly intelligent child - who had been just a hair's breadth away from abortion.

In Israel more pregnancy scans are performed than in other Western countries, including Germany, the United States and Japan. Moreover, the pregnancy termination policy in Israel is far more liberal, especially with regard to late-term abortion, when the fetus is already viable. Alongside high technological capabilities and the high frequency of genetic diseases, an illusion has developed in Israel that it is possible to ensure a perfect baby by means of extensive testing during the course of the pregnancy. The Supreme Court has been asked recently to recognize "wrongful birth" - the right of the child and his parents to sue the doctors for a birth with a defect that could have been detected, leading to an abortion. In the wake of the debate on the issue, a public committee was established before which I had the opportunity to testify. Herewith are the aspects I raised before that committee.

I would like to thank Dr. David Mankuta, head of labor and delivery at the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Kerem, Jerusalem and writer Michal Guvrin for their help in formulating my opinion.

There is an inflated esteem among the public of the general usefulness of tests during pregnancy. A pregnant woman will most often think: "What is the damage that might be caused by the test? It is better to know. I will spare no effort for my child." However, the truth is more complex. Every test has a limited ability to discover a problem. This is the characteristic of a test called sensitivity and it never reaches the level of 100 percent, but rather mostly 80 to 90 percent. Moreover, in every test there is the possibility of the false indication of a problem and the more tests are done, the greater the likelihood of error. The suspicion raised by such a test leads to an intrusive investigation, such as puncturing of amniotic fluid, which entails risks, including miscarriage.

Too many tests

The multiplicity of tests also lead to psychological tension and the natural process of pregnancy becomes a nightmare of anxieties for the parents. Inevitably, in the end unnecessary abortions are performed. Nor is it easy for doctors to acknowledge the risk of extensive testing. Moreover, in light of the threat of malpractice suits if any defect is discovered after the birth, they avoid taking even the smallest risk. The price is paid by the aborted fetuses and the families that are prevented from raising those children.

For the most part there is no appropriate quality control of decisions to carry out an abortion, for fear of discovering a mistake that will make things difficult for the parents and the doctors.

There are important and useful tests during a pregnancy; others are introduced even before the efficacy and safety have been proven. Under pressure from the industry, advanced tests are being introduced to identify mutations in genes, the significance of which is not yet known. The confusion is great and in the opinion of many experts this situation should be regulated.

Industry's vested interests

Behind the testing industry are also economic interests of private and public institutes. The adoption of a test the efficacy of which has not yet been proven poses a challenge: If the tests are not useful and they are carried out with public funding, this is a blow to equality ("medicine for the rich" ). Only useful tests should be introduced into the basket of health benefits but for the most part many years are needed in order to arrive at a fully formed assessment of the nature of tests.

Read more...

Marlee Matlin Partners With MEDL Mobile to Create the Future of Learning to Sign

MatlinMEDLOscar Winner Responds to Need for Language Education to Communicate With the Deaf, Turns to Mobile Technology to Connect With Her Massive Following

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA, Sep 26, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- MEDL Mobile Inc. (www.medlmobile.com), a leader in mobile development, announced today that it has partnered with Marlee Matlin, Oscar winner, author and world-renowned advocate for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, to create a mobile platform for teaching American Sign Language (ASL).

"I'm responding to my fans and followers who have been asking me to help people learn basics of American Sign Language, the third-most-used language in the United States," said Matlin. "There are 35 million people in the United States who are deaf or hard of hearing, millions of which sign and have family and friends who would like to learn to sign. Nothing is more important to me that helping others communicate without barriers."

The app, entitled "Marlee Signs," is currently in production. It will feature Marlee teaching lessons across a variety of language libraries, allowing users to learn American Sign Language for practical applications such as "the office," "parenting," and "at the mall." The app will debut in the spring of 2012.

Read more...