Many rabbis across the denominational spectrum will devote their sermons this week to the subject Jewish with hearing difficulties as part of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Awareness Shabbat.
The observance on Saturday, May 5, under the auspice of the Jewish Deaf Resource Center (jdrc.org), will focus the Jewish community’s attention on the Jews who represent part of the largest segment (48 million people) of the special needs community.
The special Shabbat, endorsed by major Conservative, Orthodox and Reform organizations, as well as Jewish Federations of North America and UJA-Federation of New York, takes place the day when the Torah portion Kedoshim, which includes the passage “Do not insult the deaf,” is read. The day marks the one-year anniversary of the Conservative movement passing a rabbinic responsa on “The Status of the Heresh and of Sign Language.
“I am proud that the Law Committee has found a way to enable more members of our community to have access to and take part in lives of Torah and Mitzvot,” said Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly.