Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Being Deaf (Insert Gay) and Orthodox...

This from a friend of mine, Mordechai Levovitz....

"Being Deaf and Orthodox" an article in a Right Wing Orthodox Magazine outlines a template for Orthodoxy to approach LGBT Jews"

For those of you who get Ami magazine, the Pesach edition, I highly recommend reading the 8 page spread on what it's like being Deaf and Orthodox. Ami Magazine is a right wing Chareidi magazine, pretty accepted in the Black Hat world. The arguments presented in the article prove that within Black Hat Frum Orthodoxy there is a template of thinking that can be very helpful for LGBT people. In the article there are personal narratives, an interview with a therapist, and rabbinical input. It can be easily seen how this thinking can serve as a template within Orthodoxy that may allow for far better understanding of LGBT people and LGBT pride in the Orthodox Community. The article will most likely be incorporated into JQY's training curriculum for Orthodox Mental Health Counselors. You can all feel free to make the connections for yourself. Some Highlights include:

The important of Deaf pride and not being seen as a disability but a difference to be valued:

-"In my deaf world we are proud of our deafness and carry it as a badge of honor. I know this sounds strange to you. Why would we be proud of being "disabled"? But the fact is that to us, deafness is NOT a disability but a different state of being. In our eyes, deaf people are not a subgroup of the disabled, but a minority group." -Rabbi Yehoshua Soudafoff

On the idea of fixing or curing deaf people:

-"I have asked many times if I have ever davened for the ability to hear. My answer is no. I never felt the need to daven for such a thing...I've always felt like a regular person and that there is nothing wrong with me." -Rabbi Yehosuah Soudakoff

-"I wouldn't want a doctor to 'fix me'. This is how G-d created me. This is my Identity". - Zissy Moskowitz (Orthodox interpreter and counselor)

On Orthodox Rabbinic Responses to Deaf People:

-" There is absolutely NO ROOM for being machmir when it comes to deaf people"

On some people coming up with other names or phrases to describe Deaf people:

-"You don't mind if I call you Jewish, do you? It's the same thing. It's who we are, and there is no need to try to invent fancy phrases to say the same thing. We are DEAF DEAF DEAF. (And JEWISH, JEWISH, JEWISH).

On Some Deaf Orthodox Jews needing to look outside of Orthodoxy and Judaism for resources and well-being:

-"...Abandoning their Judaism...I don't blame them (It isnt easy being Jewish and Deaf)."

-" Due to limited facilities for Jewish deaf children, (orthodox) parents reluctantly sent (Child) to St Vincent, a Catholic School."

Deaf Orthodox Jews face a myriad of Hallachic issues from hearing Shofar, Megilla, and Parshas Zachor, to wearing electric hearing aids on Shabbos and using electric lights and resources on shabbos that allow them to respond to their children, safety and the outside world. It is an issue where "different" not "disabled" people are in a category that allows for Hallachic exceptions, but still advocate for pride about their identities. The sentiments expressed in this article, are beautiful, and can help Orthodox parents, leaders, therapists and rabbis, embrace a similar approach to LGBT people in the frum community.

Good Yomtov all.

-Mordechai Levovitz

No comments:

Post a Comment