FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! OUR WAY AND THE ORTHODOX UNION PRESENT SIGNS OF BLESSINGS FOR FOOD TO ENABLE THE HEARING IMPAIRED TO EXPRESS BLESSINGS ORALLY AND IN SIGN LANGUAGE
Filling a longstanding need in the deaf and hard of hearing Jewish community, Our Way, a program of the Orthodox Union, has made available the manual Signs of Blessings for Food to enable the hearing impaired to express blessings orally and in sign language.
This is the first time that such a publication has been made available to the deaf and hard of hearing.
“Many of us will remember how as children our Hebrew teachers and parents reviewed with us again and again the proper blessing to be said on a particular food,” declared Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind, Director of Our Way. “Unfortunately, much of this type of Jewish learning was never available to signing deaf children. It is therefore with much joy and happiness that for the first time ever, Jewish deaf signers have a resource to give them guidance on how to say and sign the blessings.”
Signs of Blessings for Food is made possible by a contribution in memory of Harry Fischel a”h and Jane Fischel a”h. It is published by Our Way, which provides social, education and recreation programs for individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. Our Way is a division of the OU’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities.
Rabbi Lederfeind gave special thanks to Mattice Aaronson for editing the publication. He also acknowledged Samuel and Rachelle Landau, coordinators of the Jewish Deaf Singles Registry, for preparing the American Sign Language section; Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Kakon, a co-founder of the International Jewish Boy’s High School for the Deaf and the Hard-of-Hearing in Toronto, for writing the Jewish law section; Rabbi Fred Friedman, a former Regional Representative of the Mid-Atlantic Region of Our Way/National Conference of Synagogue Youth, for giving his endorsement for the manual.
Signs of Blessings for Food serves as a guide in sign language and as a primer on the blessings themselves. It is therefore as useful for hearing individuals who can read the section explaining the blessings, as it is for the deaf, who will now be able to sign these blessings.
The manual contains halacha (Jewish law) of the blessings and includes blessings before and after eating food and consuming soft drinks. These blessings are rendered in Hebrew, English, in transliterated English and in illustrated sign. There is also a listing of common foods with their appropriate blessings before and after eating. The following serve as categories for these foods: breads, cakes and cereals; fruits and nuts; meat, fish and eggs; dairy foods; vegetables; deserts, candy and cakes; and soft drinks.
“It is my prayer that use of this publication will bring great blessing to the Jewish people in uniting all of us to say Thank You to God,” said Rabbi Lederfeind.
For further information please contact Rabbi Lederfeind at 212-613-8234 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. The manual can be obtained for $10 for a single copy and for $8 on orders of five or more copies. Organizations and individuals wishing to purchase Signs of Blessings for Food may make a check payable to Our Way/NJCD, 11 Broadway, New York, NY 10004.