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Kati's Life Story

KathleenHorowitzI, Kathleen Horowitz, nee Katalin Naomi Steinherz, was born in Budapest, Hungary a year and a half after the end of WWII. I am the child of holocaust survivors. When I was one year old, and developed meningitis. Those were days before antibiotic treatments, and even though I survived, I became deaf as a result of the infection.

During the 1930s the Hungarian government gradually reduced the rights of the Jewish population. They could not attend the Universities, practice professions, own property or jewelry. After the outbreak of WWII in 1939 the Hungarians, who were allies of the Germans, and forced all able bodied Jewish males into forced labor brigades to aid the war effort. Most of them died on the Russian front. By March 1944 it was clear that the Germans were losing the war and the Hungarians wanted to get out. To prevent this, German troops occupied Hungary, March 19 1944, replaced the government with a puppet Nazi regime and instituted even more harsh anti-Jewish laws. To insure that the Jewish population complied, they took prominent members of the community away as “hostages”. My father and two of his brothers were among these hostages who were shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp. From there they were taken to different forced slave labor camps where most died of starvation and or disease.


AMI Magazine Introduction: Hear Me Out

Ami-HearMeOutWhat It's Really Like To Be Jewish


By Rabbi Yitzchok Frankfurter
AMI Magazine

When Rabbi Shais Taub asked me a few weeks ago if I was interested in meeting a deaf bochur who teaches Torah, I responded with an enthusiastic yes. It is generally believed that because the deaf are unable to communicate vocally, they are cut off from language, and therefore from our great heritage, indeed from the Torah itself. So to be deaf and a teacher of Torah seems to be a contradiction in terms. But that is in fact erroneous.

The deaf have their own language—not oral but signed—that is as rich and expressive as any oral language, and as suitable for discussing chiddushei Torah—both lomdus and chasidus. Much of what occurs linearly, sequentially, temporally in speech, becomes simultaneous, concurrent, multileveled in Sign. The deaf thus share a common culture, rather than a common handicap. A deaf Jewish person who knows Sign is a full member not only of the Jewish community, but also of the Deaf community with its own history and traditions. I was therefore looking forward to meeting Rabbi Yehoshua Soudakoff, as I had great interest in knowing someone who dwells simultaneously in these two distinct worlds.



Ami_SoudakoffWhat It's Really Like To Be Jewish

Joshua Soudakoff
AMI Magazine

I want to tell to you about a group of people who are usually ignored. You may have seen one of them outside on the street, or maybe in your child’s school, or maybe in your office building. But even if you have encountered one, you probably didn't pay much attention. Or maybe he made you a little nervous, or you lost interest after a short while and walked away. You most likely don’t know much about these people—such as who they really are and what they are like.

I'm talking about deaf people. On the outside, they look like everybody else. They walk, eat and sleep the same way you do. But once you start talking to them, you suddenly discover that they speak a different language.


AMI Magazine: Frequently Asked Questions about Deaf People


Ami-Soudakoff3Things you’ve wanted to know, but were afraid to ask

Are all deaf people the same?
Not at all. There are many, many kinds of deaf people. It is a spectrum, from an individual with a slight hearing loss on one side, a completely deaf person on the other, and people of different levels of hearing in between. I hear nothing without my hearing aids, and when I wear them, I am able to hear noises, though I am not able to differentiate between them.

Deaf people communicate in different ways; some only know how to speak verbally, others only communicate with sign language, and many others use both forms of communication.

Some deaf people have hearing aids. Others opt for surgery in order to receive a cochlear implant. There are deaf people who choose not to use any kind of hearing device, preferring to remain in their silent world.



This Month's Video

Published on Jul 7, 2017Emily Frances of i24 News "Trending"- in depth interview with deaf Oscar winner Marlee...

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