OU’s Our Way’s Signs of Tefillin Helps Deaf and Hard of Hearing Jewish Men Fullfill the Mitzvah

16 Oct 2009


With a target audience of deaf and hard of hearing young men who have just celebrated their bar mitzvah and are preparing to perform the mitzvah of tefillin, Our Way has made available the Signs of Tefillin booklet to enable them to express the blessings orally and in sign language. Of course, this publication will help older Jewish males perform the mitzvah as well.

The blessings are in Hebrew and in English and are also transliterated.

“Signs of Tefillin is the tenth Our Way publication for the signing Jewish deaf community. Other publications include Signs of the Seder, Chanukah Chart and Shabbat Manual in Signs,”declared Rabbi Eliezer Lederfeind, Director of Our Way.

Our Way for the Jewish Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a division of the National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD), an agency of the Orthodox Union, which provides social, educational, and recreational programs for Jewish youth and young adults who are deaf and hard of hearing.

The booklet offers individuals information on laws of tefillin, answering questions such as: What are tefillin? When do we observe the mitzvah of tefillin? How is the mitzvah fulfilled? How do you buy tefillin? It also provides a deeper understanding of tefillin, offering insight into how tefillin shows love and connection between the Jewish people and God, the strength of the Jewish people, and how to do the mitzvah right.

The booklet provides a step-by-step illustrated guide to signing the blessings. It includes the two blessings of the tefillin and the concluding statement, “Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom forever and ever.” The booklet is based on the writings of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, z”l, in his work G-d, Man and Tefillin, which is published and copyrighted by NCSY, the Orthodox Union’s international youth movement.

“Signs of Tefillin is made possible by benefactors, supporters and contributors. It was produced under the direction of T’chia Kastor, a deaf artist, with the assistance of the Our Way Sign Language Committee and Regional Representatives. A team of deaf and hard of hearing individuals reviewed the work to make sure it is ‘deaf friendly’ and the Signs are drawn correctly,” explained Rabbi Lederfeind.

For more information and to order Signs of Tefillin, send a contribution of $18 to Our Way/NJCD, 11 Broadway, New York, NY 10004, or e-mail ourway@ou.org, or call 212-613-8234. All 10 publications are available for a contribution of $75