Monday, April 26, 2010

Deafblind People from all over US to Gather in Baltimore for Special Shabbaton

Deafblind People from All Over US to Gather in Baltimore for Special
Shabbaton, April 23-24
April 16, 2010
Although scattered throughout North America there are several
organizations which service Jewish deaf or Jewish blind, there are none
for Jewish Deafblind people. In an effort to reach out to this
overlooked community, Our Way , the outreach program for Jewish deaf of
the National Jewish Council for Disabilities, an agency of the Orthodox
Union, has received funding from the Center for Jewish Education in
Baltimore with a JEEP (Jewish Education Enhancement Project) grant to
make the first Deafblind Shabbaton Experience.
The Shabbaton will be held at the Pearlstone Retreat in Reisterstown, MD
on April 23 and 24. Deafblind people will be attending from Washington
State, California, Ohio, New York and the Greater Washington, DC and
Maryland area. Making this Shabbaton "Deafblind friendly" requires that
each participant have one or two SSPs (Support Service Provider). The
SSP is a person who provides a variety of support services, including
guiding, describing, personal assistance, and sometimes interpreting,
with the ultimate goal of enhancing independence. They use a variety of
methods to communicate with their individual consumers.
All materials will be in large print and Braille; and classes and
services will be led by deaf rabbis. These rabbis will be signing and
interpreters and SSPs will be relaying the information to their
individual consumers.
According to Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind, Director of Our Way, "Everything
I have learned about programs for the deaf is completely irrelevant
here. Some of the Deafblind community are really amazing. It's the
challenge of being isolated even in a room of 500 people. The ability of
these people to overcome their disabilities shows the power of the
neshama – the soul. It shows how people can grow."
Rabbi Lederfeind noted that most of these people were originally sighted
but lost their vision through Usher's Syndrome. Usher's Syndrome is a
genetic condition in which the person is genetically deaf and has a gene
for Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye condition that starts with night
blindness, then tunnel vision, and deteriorates to the degree that the
person may become completely blind. In addition, not everyone is
completely deaf or completely blind. "Email is a God-send for these
people," he said. "They get emails in very large print or in Braille."
Committee members for this event are Sheryl Cooper of Maryland, Leslie
Foxman of Maryland, Rabbi Fred Friedman of Maryland, Rabbi David Kastor
of Maryland, Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind of New York, Sharon Siegel of
Nevada, Joyce Srour of Maryland, Bets Wohl of Washington DC, and Yael
Zelinger of Maryland.
For further information call voice/relay 212-613-8234 or email

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.