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Deaf and Hearing-Impaired Children Celebrate their Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Each year, our Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program assists deaf and hearing impaired children from all­over the country to prepare and celebrate for this important life­cycle event. Participants attend classes address the importance of and giving to the community, and understanding the meaning and importance of prayer. The boys learn the blessings for being called up to the Torah and the girls are taught the blessings for candle lighting and the commandment of taking challah.

At the Bar/Bat Mitzvah Ceremony, the boys drape themselves in their talliot, don tefillin and sign the blessings for being called up to the Torah, and the girls say the Shema in sign language. Participants also receives a meaningful gift directly connected to their new mitzvah obligations. The boys receive a siddur (prayer book),tallit, kippah, and embroidered tallit and tefillin bags. The girls receive a siddur and a pair of stunning decorated Shabbat candlesticks and unique handmade candles.

The unique ceremony is the culmination of several months of training deaf boys and girls the basics of Judaism and the ethics of Jewish adulthood. "We are deeply proud to be able to share this stellar occasion with these young people and their families", stated Rabbi Chaim Wasserman, President of the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel. "The emotional charge of seeing these challenged youth participate as all others in this important life event is indescribable unless you witness it personally."

Established in 1995, the International Young Israel Movement ­ Israel Region's Judaic Heritage Program is the only program providing Israel's Deaf, hearing impaired and deaf­ blind with critically needed religious education and the tools to function as active complete Jews and people in both the religious and secular worlds. A major communication gap often prevents the deaf in Israel from participating in Judaic culture and ritual. "This program helps connect deaf and hearing impaired children with both their own Jewish heritage and the greater community of Israel", explains Rabbi Chonoch Yeres, Program Director for the IYIM Judaic Heritage Program for the Deaf. "The obligations for Jewish children to take part in a Bar or Bat Mitzvah has no lines or boundaries".The program is endorsed and receives partial sponsorship from the Jewish Agency for Israel and works in close ties with the Association for the Deaf in Israel.

To make a donation or sponsor a child please contact us at +972­2­650­5924 or office@iyim.org.il.