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Melton And Jewish Deaf Resource Center Partner To Expand Access To Adult Jewish Learning

Online courses in American Sign Language, led by the world's first female Deaf rabbi, aim to make Jewish learning more inclusive.

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To ensure effective communication and meaningful interactions, each class is limited to 20 participants. (Photo: JDRC)

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The Florence Melton School of Adult Jewish Learning, a renowned global institution dedicated to empowering Jewish adults through the study of Jewish texts and ideas, has embarked on a groundbreaking partnership with the Jewish Deaf Resource Center (JDRC). Together, they aim to provide online learning classes in American Sign Language (ASL), making adult Jewish learning more accessible to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing community.

The unique course titled “Love, Loss, and Wisdom” is set to commence on October 11th, offering six 90-minute weekly Zoom sessions. These interactive classes will be led by Rabbi Rebecca L. Dubowe, a pioneering Deaf rabbi based in Bloomington, Illinois.

The course’s primary focus is to explore Jewish responses and rituals surrounding the theme of mourning. Participants will delve into how Jewish wisdom and tradition can help individuals cope with heartbreak, loss, and the profound questions surrounding human suffering. Additionally, the class will touch upon the Jewish perspective on life after death and its connection to the religion’s view of the messianic era.

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Rabbi Rachel Bovitz, Executive Director of the Melton School, highlighted the significance of the program, saying, “Melton learning is so much more than just the text, but rather also the enriching atmosphere of discussions and experiences that foster connectedness and build community. Over the years, we’ve been able to see the impact of cohorts that are able to learn together, and we’re extremely humbled to be able to share that with Deaf learners through our unique partnership with the Jewish Deaf Resource Center.”

Facilitating a discussion-based learning environment for Deaf learners presents its own set of challenges. To ensure effective communication and meaningful interactions, each class is limited to 20 participants. This approach allows cohort members to see and communicate with each other effectively.

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Rabbi Rebecca L. Dubowe expressed the transformative impact of teaching Melton courses in ASL: “There are no boundaries to learning Torah; however, many Deaf Jewish individuals have not been able to receive an intensive Jewish education due to the lack of communication access. Teaching Melton in ASL has removed those barriers to allow Deaf Jewish individuals to explore, question, and strengthen their own connection to Judaism. Being one of the teachers of these courses, it has been a transformational experience for me, and it is an honor to witness these students become lifelong learners and lovers of Judaism in their own unique ways.”

Rabbi Dubowe, originally from Los Angeles, was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. Before becoming the rabbi at the Moses Montefiore Congregation in Bloomington, Illinois, she served in similar roles in various synagogues across the United States.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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