Israel To Teach Sign Language In City Schools
Israel’s Hearing Day is gaining prominence across the country and this year the vice-mayor of one of Israel’s cities announced all his city schools would start teaching sign language.
Last week a conference was held in honor of national “Hearing Day” in the Loewenstein Rehabilitation Center in the city of Raanana, Israel. A world-renown institution for medical rehabilitation, the center hosted deaf children, adults, staff and visitors from all over the country.
The purpose of the conference was to raise awareness of professional rehabilitation among the deaf and hard-of-hearing society on one hand and to raise general awareness of difficulties faced by deaf people in everyday life.
In her speech, Vice Mayor of Raanana, Ronit Weintraub made an announcement: “I hereby declare that the city of Raanana will be promoting the subject of teaching sign language in the city schools. I believe that all of us will gain from it another important way of communication”.
The conference was accompanied with translation to sign language and included a unique dance performance by hard-of-hearing students of the center. There was also a screening of the movie “One On One,” which tells the story of Peretz Rivkin, former captain of the Israeli Deaf Basketball team.
Across Israel “Hearing Day” also included free hearing tests and lectures regarding hearing damages, accessibility problems and solutions.
“This is the second year we’re successfully marking Hearing Day,” said Ami Megadasi, the center director. “We’ve been developing the hearing disabilities field for twenty years in Israel and I believe today we can at last properly answer the needs of this population. The students here are diagnosed and get individual guidance and help in finding jobs. I am more than happy to say that the percentage of integration of the hard-of-hearing society in workplaces stands today at more than 80 percent”.
Photo by Axel Bührmann