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Deaf Rabbi Prepares To Lead a Hearing Congregation in Massachusetts

Tablet‘I may not hear very well, but I really know how to listen,’ says Rabbi Darby Leigh, as deaf Jews make strides in the community

By Batya Ungar-Sargon
July 29, 2013 12:00 AM
Tablet

On Aug. 1, Rabbi Darby Leigh will begin his tenure as leader of Congregation Kerem Shalom in Concord, Mass. Leigh is “profoundly deaf.” Without his hearing aids, he is unable to distinguish sounds below 90 decibels (the average range of a hearing person is 0-120 decibels, with speech being somewhere around 60 decibels). With his new position, Leigh joins a very small cadre: He will be just the second deaf rabbi to lead a hearing congregation in America.

Leigh’s position signifies the strides being made toward inclusion of deaf individuals in the larger Jewish community, according to advocates. “The concept is wonderful,” said Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind, founder of Our Way, the Orthodox Union’s outreach program for the deaf. Lederfeind sees Leigh’s hiring as testament to the fact that “more and more Jewish [deaf] children are being mainstreamed,” due to growing awareness of deaf Jews and their needs. Jacob Salem, the newly elected president of the Jewish Deaf Congress, agrees that strides have been made in some communities. Salem, who is deaf and who spoke to me on the phone through an interpreter, said he was excited about the idea of a second deaf rabbi serving a hearing community: “To see a rabbi signing, to have that direct access, it’s great and it will inspire others and raise awareness,” he said.

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Israel Sign Language Makes Itself Heard

FriedlandBy Rachel Neiman July 14, 2013
Israel21c

A visit to the Nalagaat Arts Center for the deaf proves that although Israel Sign Language for the deaf is still a young language, it is rich in Jewish and Israeli tradition, history — and humor.

In a country populated by noisy people, Israel’s deaf and hard of hearing have had to figure out modes of communication to make themselves heard. As in other countries, there is a local language, Israel Sign Language (ISL) whose history runs in parallel to that of the modern State.

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Raising a Mentsch

YvetteMillerBy Yvette Miller
The Jewish Woman
Chabad.org
July 20, 2013

How far would you go for your children? Everyone who’s a mother – or who has a mother – knows a mom’s love is infinite. But some moms have found themselves doing things for their kids that are extraordinary. Here is a story of a special mom who went above and beyond the usual in helping her kids – and some of the life lessons she learned along the way.

Annette Rhodes was a typical Cleveland mom with four kids. Then her youngest son Itamar came down with meningitis. He recuperated, and as he was a happy baby, Annette and her husband Michael didn’t think there were any lasting effects. Several months later, when Michael banged a pot and ladle together for his young son, Itamar didn’t flinch. They realized something was wrong--the meningitis had left him profoundly deaf and cognitively impaired.

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We're So Lucky! Khana Globman

YvetteMillerBy Yvette Miller
The Jewish Woman
Chabad.org
July 20, 2013

Many mothers of special needs children have learned that happiness is a choice, that they can “create” joy in their homes. When life hands these extraordinary women seemingly insurmountable challenges, they focus on the positive. By stressing what they and their children can do, rather than dwelling on limitations, they succeed in building vibrant, loving homes. That’s the case with Khana Globman, a mother and grandmother living in Philadelphia.

Khana already had three hearing children when she gave birth to a deaf son, Mordekhai. “There was absolutely no deafness in our families on both sides – we’d never even met any deaf people.” After Mordechai, Khana had twin boys who were also deaf. Khana next had a hearing son, followed by her youngest son, Yossi, who was profoundly deaf, then a hearing daughter.

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This Month's Video

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

HDVS_CATEGORY: Holidays
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