Monday, July 25, 2005

And all the people saw the sounds

Interesting article in the New York Times yesterday, on synagogues geared towards the deaf. One sentence in particular bothered me.

Many aspects of society are not easy for the deaf to navigate, but synagogues
historically held particular challenges. Few people spoke both sign language and
Hebrew, so accurate translation was difficult. Moreover, a good deal of care and
education of the deaf population was traditionally done by nuns. Jewish
organizations helped the deaf, but many focused on social programs more than
religious education.


Anonymous Lia said...

A close friend of my mother's has a deaf son. At his bar Mitzvah, his father, who is a dancer, signed the whole service. It was an entirely new way to experience prayer - expressed through motion and a different form of communication, but still entirely about the words. It made a huge impact on me.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous francine marino said...

i don't know about the nuns but the jewish community still appears to be neglecting the education of its deaf. According to an article by Sharon Ann Soudakoff, "Jewish Deaf Education", there is still only one Orthodox Jewish Day School in all of the United States.(in New York City) Her article also gives a history of Jewish education for the deaf and can be found at

4:23 PM  
Anonymous Naomi Miller said...

Im Lea's mom's friend with the deaf son. I can only say that we gave our son a wonderful Jewish education in an after-school, Hebrew School. He had interpreters and our congregation welcomed him.
However, the truth was, that he was not REALLY INCLUDED in the gossip, the kibbitzing, and even the occasional "getting into trouble" like the other boys did. The bottom line is that the deaf Jew needs to be needed in the hearing Jewish congregation. Help them become an ACTIVE part. Figure out how they can serve on comnmittees with interpreters etc.

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Lia said...

Make that and you can click on "deaf awareness".

6:45 PM  

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