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JDC Conference News

The Jewish Deaf Congress Conference July 7-12 in Las Vegas, NV featured Roz Rosen, Lauren Teruel, and Debi Meranksi [formerly Sonnenstrahl] as keynote speakers, and Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe and Darby Leigh as plenary speakers. Award recipients: Eileen & Fred Katz inducted into the Hall of Fame. Rebecca Lovitch: Plapinger Youth Essay. Brian Saperstein: Celia & Leonard Warshawsky Young Adult Award and Dorothy Brenner: Anna & Henry Plapinger Award. Current officers are: President Martin Florsheim, Vice President Barbara Boyd, Board at Large Dorothy Brenner, Myron Goldman, Alfred Weinrib, and Marla Berkowitz. The only board position up for election was Treasurer, and as there were no candidates, the JDC Board is looking for someone willing to fill the slot for two years until the next Congress which was announced for July 4-9, 2005 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay Hotel in Tampa, FL. The website for the 2005 Jewish Deaf Congress will be http://www.jdc2005.com.

Deaf Holocaust Survivors Sought

Dr. James Tresh, founder of the National Deaf Academy, is looking for Deaf Holocaust survivors to interview for a book he is writing. Dr. Tresh may be contacted at the National Deaf Academy, 19650 US Hwy. 441, Mt. Dora, FL 32757, 352/735-9570 (TTY), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (EMail).

Israel Government Ignores Deaf Rights

Moshe Ivgi is a teacher for Deaf children in Israel. He teaches his students that they are able to get ahead despite their perceived limitations. But Ivgi, himself deaf, is no longer convinced by what he is teaching. "I don't want to tell them that our government is apathetic, that they relate to us like we are ghosts," Ivgi said. He is particularly disappointed by the government's behavior in the wake of a strike last year by deaf activists representing the 6,000-strong community. The Israel government agreed to provide every deaf citizen a bimonthly communications allowance to purchase batteries for hearing aids and other tools and every four years, NIS 3,000 to obtain a hearing aid. Unfortunately, a departmental dispute within the Israel Government has most social services offices refusing to process the applications. As a result only 10 percent of deaf Israelis have received the subsidies to which they are entitled.

In January, Giora Rosenthal, head of the Union of Local Authorities (ULA), told directors of the municipal social services departments that the National Insurance Institute (NII) should be dealing with the deaf, not them, and also claimed that the Welfare Ministry had not discussed arrangements with the joint coordination committee before placing these new "special needs" responsibilities on the municipalities. Most municipalities followed Rosenthal's instructions and did not assist Deaf clients. Smaller authorities decided to continue providing aid to applicants and have thus far received 600 aid applications of which 500 have been approved.

Dalia Berlinsky, director-general of the Israel Association for the Deaf, said she does not oppose the transfer of care for the deaf to the NII, but said this process could take two years and people cannot wait for services. She offered the services of the association's social workers and volunteers to help the local authorities deal with the deaf citizens' requests. The Or Yehuda municipality took up Berlinsky's offer. The Welfare Ministry and the ULA agreed to set up a committee to discuss the issue and submit conclusions to the joint coordination committee, a process that is expected to take several weeks.

Update on "Threat Matrix" TV Show

"Threat Matrix,'' an ABC show scheduled for TV's Fall 2003 season, includes Shoshannah Stern, a Fremont, CA resident who plays a computer whiz on the government's anti-terrorist team. Stern credits California School for the Deaf in Fremont (CSDF) for much of her success as a young actress. Stern's father was the director of instructional services at the school. She said, "The people at the school were my mentors, the ones who gave me support to say `I know you can do this' before even I thought I could do this." Stern went on to attend Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She got her first acting job after Warner Bros. e-mailed her, asking her to guest star on their series "Off-Centre.'' She landed the role, which led to other work on "Providence,'' "Boston Public,'' "ER'' and "The Division.''

On "Threat Matrix'' there will be a person signing behind Stern as a way of recognizing that her character is also deaf, but deafness will not be the central part of her character. "This is really a wonderful opportunity not only for me, but for the entire Deaf community,'' she said, adding that most Deaf characters on TV are about their deafness. "I don't wake up every day going, `Gosh. I'm deaf. How do I brush my teeth? I'm deaf.' (Her character Holly's) deafness is just part of the package. It's part of who she is. It maybe will shape her choices, it may shape who she is, but it's the same as me. It's the closest-as possible character that I've ever played as myself, being me. Only I can't really work on computers.''

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  Published on 4 May 2017Marlee Matlin visited the Microsoft campus to learn more about accessibility at...

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