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Letters to the Editor

A Message From The Editor

We are pleased to announce that the Ruth/Allen Ziegler Foundation has committed to funding JDCC activities for the third year in a row. JDCC thanks them for their generosity.

As previously mentioned, we start the "Overseas Experiences" column in this issue with Liz Stone who is currently in Israel. We have also been approached by several teenagers planning to visit Israel this summer who also wish to share their experience with JDCC News readers, so look for upcoming reports on their experiences in future issues as well!

Food for thought for this issue: Do you know any Deaf programs that provide shelter and clothing, etc to needy Deaf people? I have received inquiries from prospective donors of such items. While there are many Jewish organizations that can accept these donations, they say that they would prefer their donations to benefit Deaf Jewish people. Is there are any deaf organizations that can accept these donations to benefit Deaf Jewish individuals and families? Please let us know so we can refer donors to these organizations.

We will be at the Jewish Deaf Congress convention with a booth on Friday only from 9 am to 4 pm and invite you to visit us! If you are interested in I volunteering your time at the JDCC booth, please contact us.

To those of you across the country, we also welcome your announcement on High Holiday services for the next issue of JDCC News. We would need to hear from you by the August 15th deadline.

JDCC's Mail Box
FAX: 818/845-9936
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Dear Sharon,
Wow! What a thrill and surprise to see my dad's picture [Jan/Fete '98 of JDCC News] jump right out at me. I remember writing back and forth to Barry Strassler and giving him the information but sort of forgot about it.

Thanks so much for making my day by sending the newsletter to me. I am enclosing a contribution to your worthwhile organization.

Lila Worzel Miller
New City, N. Y


I am looking for a Jewish schoolmate/roommate of mine that I've not seen since 1984...you can give her my email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you happen to know of her.

Her maiden name is Rochelle Buch. She was originally from New York, moved to South California then up to Seattle Washington. She attended Wash. state school for the deaf where she was my roommate. She was married to and then divorced from Brian Schnebele.... I've known that she has married again, but don't know her present married name. She is in mid 50's now like I am...The last place I hear that she resides is in Arizona.

I hope you're able to help me. If you do happen to know of her whereabouts, tell her that Judy Cano is looking for her and that she misses her.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Deafially yours, Judy

Shalom, Sharon!

I know you're surprised to hear from me. I wanted to send you a short note to tell you how impressed I was with your recent Jewish newsletter. Great job! It was very interesting, informative and well organized (just like you)...

However I noted that there wasn't anything in it about the Holocaust and Deaf People Conference at Gallaudet, June 21-24, 1998. Aw shucks... If you're interested in it, please do visit our website at gallaudet.edu. Or more specifically, http://www.gallaudet.edu/~dpenna/holocaustl.htm

Perhaps this conference is not being adequately advertised; I would welcome your thoughts on how to get the word out within the next two weeks about it... Thanks, Sharon.

Take care of yourself and your growing family. Best wishes.

Roz Rosen
Washington, D.C.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The 'Holocaust and Deaf People Conference' was announced in the Jan/Feb issue 1998 of JDCC News.

Making Your Home Jewish!

One JDCC News subscriber asks: Do we put mezuzahs on the bathroom doors?
Editor responses: No, we do not because it is not a clean room.

Dear Sharon & JDCC,

Amazing to read about the Mezuzah in the last issue of JDCC News and stories of being protected.

My husband Percy and I want to let everyone know that miracles did happen with us when we put two new mezzuzahs at our home.

A true story, that happened to us one day, my mind was telling me that we needed a new mezuzah so I contacted our friend, Jeff Beck to have him check out our mezuzahs. He came over and said we must get two new mezuzahs so took us to an Orthodox store in the Fairfax area. Jeff checked and smelled the two cow hides with inscription and costed us $30 each parchment. He rolled and put them in their cases respectively. He attached these to the door posts at the front door and our bedroom's door. Jeff prayed and gave blessing for the mezuzahs.

Two weeks later, we had a terrible earthquake in 1994, in Los Angeles (worst one was in Northridge, CA) we rushed to open the front door and kissed the new mezuzahs as we felt so safe and found our bedroom walls were cracked badly.

That was a spirit from G-d telling me to get new mezuzahs as G-d knows things will happen terrible. We want to say thanks to JEFF BECK!

Mezzuahs can be for anything, when you usually kiss on the mezuzah entering or leaving the home to say for security, good luck (mazeltov) for bris, bar/bat mitzvahs and to get recovery from illness, etc.

Ruth & Percy Morris
Los Angeles, CA

Dear Sharon,

I received a copy of JDCC NEWS (May/June) in the mail today and am accepting your invitation to share my thoughts on your Editor's message.

First a little background. I am hearing. I trained many years ago as a teacher of the Deaf at a well known school which was oral at the time. I decided that classroom teaching was not for me and entered a related field where I could still use the knowledge I had gained. After several frustrating years, I did some soul searching and decided that if I was to work with the Deaf I had better undo the bias with which I was trained and learn sign language. I hired a Deaf individual as a teacher for some other staff and myself. I had met the person originally as a client. I went on to organize the first sign language classes (taught by a deaf and hearing teams), the first relay service and the first interpreting courses in my county. Only when the colleges took over the courses and the state opened its relay service did I stop.

My family and I became close friends with my original sign language teacher and his family . We had an extra special link since both families are Jewish.

We attended each others children's Bnai Mitzvot and their daughter's wedding. At the time of my daughter's Bat Mitzvah I also had other deaf friends who I met through this couple. I had an interpreter at the Bat Mitzvah and invited her to the reception to assist with interaction with my hearing guests. The reception was very low key and there was no music or dancing. My friends had no interpreter at their first simcha, because they were embarrassed in front of their hearing relatives. So their Deaf friends just sat, not knowing what was going on. For the remaining simchas, they followed my example and had interpreters.

I felt the need to have a Jewish interpreter. Even though she wasn't very Jewishly educated she had the right attitude about how to perform her role within the context. Why am I telling you all this?

1. At some point, this Deaf couple seemed to became more distant. I found out through a mutual (hard of hearing) friend that the couple had decided to socialize only with other deaf people! I was hurt that they never discussed it with me. I also felt like I was being discriminated against for being hearing.

This from people who knew what it felt like to be discriminated, I was hurt that they never discussed it with me. I also felt like I was being discriminated against for being hearing. This from people who knew what it felt like to be discriminated against by much of the world. (Remember this was many years ago, when Deaf Pride was new.)

2. Interpreting- I attended services at a temple which had been visited a non -Jewish sign language interpreter. They hired her for their Shabbat services. I knew of the person and wondered how this temple had been able to attract Deaf Jews from the community. It's a small community and I thought I knew most of the people. Well, there were no Deaf people at any of the services I attended. They used the interpreter as a kind of "show piece." To add insult to injury, the interpreter made no effort to find out what was being said in Hebrew. The person either signed "become peaceful" over and over and over again or signed "they're speaking Hebrew now" and put their hands down!

3. You spoke about outreach. At my own temple a Deaf family was interested in joining. My Rabbi and the school principal asked meet to meet with them about what was needed for accessibility for the family at services and the child in religious school. They then asked that I serve as interpreter at their meeting with the family. After discussing with the family all that would be made available to them, they decided to join a Deaf temple because they didn't want to be the only Deaf family in a hearing temple.

So I think that your point about your knowing what you want before asking the community to help is a very valid one. I think the responsibility issue~you raise -"the hearing leaders, or ours" is also valid. I think there needs to be a shared responsibility. I also feel strongly that services should not be interpreted when there are no Deaf Jews present, expected or known. Then it becomes a show. I also feel strongly that interpreters need to be familiar with Judaism. I know interpreters who interpret for their own non-Jewish religious affiliations and a few that have no religious affiliation.. But they must be willing to learn the meanings of the prayers so that their signs will be consistent with the intended meaning.

Unfortunately, after a number of years of being involved in all this, I developed RSI and am no longer able to sign without a great deal of pain in my hands. Therefore, I have had to remove myself from this area. In fact, the only way I am able to type this e-mail is in more than one session. I use inverted pencils (to type with eraser end) with adaptive equipment on them and can only type with two "fingers' as it were, at a time, one pencil in each hand.

I hope that some of this information sharing has been helpful. for you. Please do not use my name or identification if you discuss this with anyone . As you know, the Deaf world is a small one and the Jewish deaf world even smaller! Thank you.

Anonymous - New York


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