Deaf Community’s Concerns Heard


The Macks Center for Jewish Education (CJE), an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, recently announced a funding initiative that will significantly offset the cost of sign-language interpreters at Jewish communal events.

Jewish Advocates for Deaf Education (JADE) will provide $50 per event toward interpreters’ fees, which typically cost at least $50 per hour with a two-hour minimum, plus travel expenses. In addition, several Jewish sign-language interpreters have agreed to accept $50 per hour with a one-hour minimum and no travel expenses to make this service more affordable for local Jewish agencies.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing members of the Jewish community are encouraged to inquire about the eligibility of CJE-funded interpreters for events taking place at Jewish events in Baltimore, and they must request an interpreter at least one week prior to the event.

“It is important for Jewish organizations and shuls to hire interpreters so that deaf people can participate in community events and feel that they are part of it,” said Tchia Kastor, who is deaf. “If deaf parents feel good in the community, it will influence their children, who will know that the community accepts their parents. They will not feel embarrassed about their parents’ deafness.”

Said Amian Frost Kelemer, associated executive vice president of CJE: “By providing interpreters at Jewish community experiences, we are strengthening our community and opening up previously inaccessible opportunities for Jewish learning and connecting. No Jewish person should ever feel separated from the community.”

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