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Marlee Matlin Keynote Speaker

Award-winning film and television actress Marlee Matlin was the keynote speaker at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County's Fourth Annual Star Celebration Feb. 26. Presented by the Jewish Federation's Women's Division, the community-wide outreach event was held at the Mizner Center at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. The annual Star Celebration takes its name from the Book of Daniel in the Bible: "And those who turn the many to tzedakah ("charity") will shine like the stars for ever and ever." Organizers said that the event is designed to educate women about the Jewish Federation's mission and get them interested and involved in "repairing the world". Matlin has had recurring roles on such TV shows as "Judging Amy," "The Practice" and "West Wing." She made Hollywood history in 1987 when, at age 21, she became the youngest performer to receive the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the film "Children of a Lesser God." She is one of only four actresses to win the Oscar for a debut performance. Her children's novel, "Deaf Child Crossing," was published in September. A native of Morton Grove, Ill., Matlin began acting at age 7 and attended Chicago's Congregation Bene Shalom/ Hebrew Association for the Deaf, where she learned English, Hebrew and sign language. At her bat mitzvah, she signed and spoke her Torah portion. Now a mother of three, Matlin also serves as spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Red Cross.

Camp Ramah in the Poconos 2003 Summer Season

The Kesher Program at Camp Ramah in the Poconos will have a 5-day Shabbaton overnight camping trip for Deaf adults and families (with children ages 3-9). The Kesher Havruta ("Community Connection") event will take place on July 23-27, 2003. There will be recreational, educational, and evening programming. Israeli Sign Language and Hebrew will be taught as well as Israeli dance, drama, arts and crafts, sports, nature, and swimming programs, all while fostering lifetime friendships and celebrating Shabbat at the beautiful Camp Ramah in the Poconos lakeside setting. For educational and programming purposes, children are divided according to their age for activities. Deaf adults and parents of Deaf children will have the opportunity to share personal experiences with regard to Deaf issues and the Jewish community. Participants will celebrate Shabbat within the caring, nuturing environment of Camp Ramah in the Poconos. Scholarships are available. Camp Ramah is also looking for ASL fluent staff who are knowledgeable about Jewish culture, history, and liturgy. A program coordinator, two educators, two educational assistants, a recreational leader, an ASL interpreter coordinator, and four ASL interpreters are needed. If you qualify and love summer camp, they encourage you to apply.

For more information, contact: Maria C. Berkowitz, Kesher Programs Director, Camp Ramah in the Poconos This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 215-885-2637 TTY, 215885-8556 Voice.

Florida Company Will Market SpeechView's Solutions for Deaf

NorthView Enterprises (http://www.northviewenterprises.com) of Clearwater, Fla., has been granted exclusive rights to market SpeechView's products for the deaf and hard of hearing in the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America. The first product to be marketed under the agreement is "LipC-Cell" - a software product that enables deaf and hard of hearing individuals to receive spoken communications and verbally respond using mobile phones. LipC-Cell software is installed on the user's computer and connected with a cable to a cell phone. When this user receives a call, a 3-D animated face appears on his/her computer screen, and the face's lips move in real time, synching with the caller's voice, thus allowing the deaf person to lip read. Amir Weisberg, President and CEO of Northview said, "LipC-Cell is a breakthrough forthe deaf and hard of hearing community, and is an excellent alternative to current methods, including TTY."

Weisberg said that NorthView has already begun negotiations with leading U.S. cellular operators. "LipC-Cell has received enthusiastic response from cellular providers, as it provides them with a new and vast market, white at the same time providing deaf and hard of hearing individuals with a revolutionary assistive technology," he said. Future applications for the LipC technology include PDA's and mobile devices; television; radio and educational institutions. SpeechView, headquartered in Israel, develops solutions to enable deaf and hard of hearing people to use their speechreading skills to understand voice communications. For more information, please visit the company's website at http://www.speechview.com.

Deaf Teacher Serves As Role Model

When Becca Gleicher began teaching at Foothill Knolls Elementary School in Upland, Calif. four years ago, her students decided to test her limits. They shouted and screamed. They banged on tables and slammed chairs. Just about every day, they did whatever they could to raise the classroom decibel level. Their reason was simple. The students were deaf. They didn't believe their teacher was actually deaf as well. "I don't wear a hearing aid so I don't hear anything, which is a godsend," she said. "One of the interpreters told me that, 'You know they've been making every nose under the sun?' I said, 'For how long?" Oh, for a couple of months now.'" Gleicher was the first deaf teacher any of the students had ever experienced. "I want kids to have an opportunity to have a deaf teacher," she said. "It matters. I think it's so important, a role model. If it wasn't for me, they might not have a deaf teacher at all until high school."

Gleicher, 37, taught for 14 years at schools in her native New York City and at the California School for the Deaf at Fremont and Riverside before coming to Foothill Knolls. Her students thought she was hearing because she can speak; Gleicher was born with her hearing, but after a case of the mumps at age 4 she began slowly losing that ability. She is third-generation deaf on her father's side, and about 30 members of her extended family are deaf. "I am Deaf. Do not call me 'hearing impaired.' It may be politically incorrect, but I don't like it," she said. "Impaired to me means broken or damaged. I'm not." She has high standards for her students. In her classroom, there is no pointing and shrugging, no shying away from the effort and the legwork, no getting around learning how to communicate formally with the larger world. "I tell them it's important for their future because I want them to have a good job," she said. "Some of them could go to junior college or college. They don't think of themselves as handicapped, but they say, `I can't.' I tell them, `This is what I expect of you.' "


This Month's Video

Irina, our event coordinator, shares the exciting updates of the #DeafChanukah event in this video!

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