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Hebrew Seminary of the Deaf

There are approximately 50,000 deaf Jews in the United States, many of whom are deprived of the opportunity to practice their religion because of their deafness. Although many of them have formed communities where they can communicate with each other, most have no clergy to lead them or to whom they can turn for religious training or for spiritual help. Jews in the deaf community desperately want to hold onto their heritage — to the 5,000 years of Judaism of which they are a part, but which they are prevented from actively sharing because there are few rabbis who understand their distinctive culture or language.

Although there have been deaf Jews throughout the 5,000 years of Judaism, until now there has never been an organized effort to address this need. The Hebrew Seminary of the Deaf was established in 1992 to meet the spiritual needs of the Jewish deaf by training Jews, deaf and non-deaf, to work within Jewish deaf and hearing communities as teachers and rabbis. The HSD seeks to teach Jewish tradition, values and thought to the deaf, with emphasis on deaf culture within the Jewish experience.

The Hebrew Seminary of the Deaf is a unique, pluralistic egalitarian school; our students learn Jewish ethics, thought, religion and history, and gain an in-depth understanding of the deaf culture. The Seminary’s five-year program also includes all of the standard curriculum and courses of study required for rabbinical ordination. In addition, all students must learn and become proficient in American Sign Language(ASL) and Hebrew Sign Language. This will be essential in communicating with the Jewish deaf individuals and congregations you will eventually serve. It should also be noted, Hebrew Seminary of the Deaf includes the study of Kabbalah and healing meditative practices as an important part of our curriculum.

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4435 W. Oakton St.
Skokie, Illinois
(Voice) 847.677.3330
(TTY) 847.677.6724
(Fax) 847.677.7945