For deaf Jews, Jewish community slowly opening up

For deaf Jews, Jewish community slowly opening up

Shabbat retreat set for deaf and hard-of-hearing singles

Deaf singles sign “I love you” at a Shabbaton with Batya Jacob, Our Way program director, far right. Courtesy Our Way

Our Way’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Singles Group, a program of the Orthodox Union, will hold its annual retreat Friday through Sunday, February 11 to 13, at the Jewish Center in Manhattan. This event is being held in conjunction with NAIM – the North American Inclusion Month program sponsored by the OU’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities, which includes Our Way.

A shadchan (matchmaker) from, who will sign up retreat participants for its services, will be among the speakers, as well as a deaf rabbi. Saturday night activity will feature ice-skating at Bryant Park followed by late dinner. Sunday’s highlight will be a tour of Manhattan. Shabbat davening as well as the rabbi’s sermons will be interpreted into ASL. At the third Shabbat meal, two deaf young men will tell the gathering about their challenges growing up deaf in the Jewish world.

“Our annual retreat offers deaf Jews the opportunity to meet and socialize, and I am pleased to say that marriages have resulted from it,” declared Batya Jacob, program director of Our Way. “It is very appropriate that the retreat should be held as part of NAIM, because Our Way at all times emphasizes the ‘Inclusion’ of the deaf in the Jewish community.”

The early bird special is $110 per person until Jan. 20 and then $125 per person. The cost includes membership in JDSR (Jewish Deaf Singles Registry) for the year. For further information, e-mail Jacob at or call her at (212) 613-8127.

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