On Monday, some eighty deaf and hearing impaired Israeli children came together from all across Israel in order to have a joint bar and bat mitzvah ceremony in Yerushalayim.
The group took the time to visit the Kosel and participated in a tour given in ISL (Israeli Sign Language).
The celebration of the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs took place at the Nitzanim Shul in the neighborhood of Baka. The event, which was sponsored by the International Young Israel Movement, was aimed at helping members of Israel’s Deaf and Hearing Impaired community feel more connected with their religious roots and feel more like a community themselves. The movement, together with the Jewish Agency of Israel, who co-sponsored the event, provides many types of programming and support for this community.
Deaf New York-based poet and actor Douglas Ridloff, joined the group and participated in the trip and the ceremony. Ridloff is currently in Israel on a mission for the SignTalk Foundation, which is a U.S.-based non-profit whose goal is to promote the public awareness of the signing community. Ridloff is visiting numerous organizations and entities who have been noted to work with and help make advancements for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired community in Israel.
Former Head of the Labor Party, the Zionist Union Party and the current Jewish Agency Chair Isaac Herzog, attended the bar and bat ceremony. He referred to the event as being “a deeply emotional one for all of us and their parents in particular and I welcome this opportunity to wish all of those celebrating a big mazal tov.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)