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August 14, 1987 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-08-14

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With Our New T-Shirt!

Ex-Detroiter Helps
Israeli Deaf Students


Jewish News Intern

Overcoming a language
barrier is a typical challenge
faced by foreigners who
choose to immerse
themselves in another
culture. For volunteers on the
Sherut La'am — Service of the
.People — program of the
World Zionist Organization,
the three month intensive
Hebrew language training
provides them with the
necessary communication
skills for their primary goal,
the donation of their time in
Israel's Development Towns.
Terry Bittker, a graduate of
Lahser High School in Bloom-
field Hills and Gallaudet
University, Washington D.C.,
entered the program in last
October facing a double
Bittker was diagnosed hear-
ing impaired at age nine.
With 75 decibels needed at
the high frequency range she
has an 86 percentunderstan-
ding hearing level. Fluent in
American Sign
Language(ASL), she has ap-
plied her B.A. in social work
toward teaching the deaf,
handicapped and mentally
impaired in Southfield,
Washington D.C. and
Maryland where she now
She learned of the Sherut
La'am program while atten-
ding a lecture at the Jewish
Community Center in
Washington D.C. "I was so im-
pressed I decided to apply. I
didn't think I was going to be
accepted," she said.
After two months of great
difficulty learning spoken

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Hebrew in Tiberias, she said
she begged the supervisor to
allow her to forgo the last
month and set off directly to
Beersheva where she planned
to teach at the Niv School for
the Deaf.
More frustration followed
when she arrived in Beer-
sheva, where nobody knew
English or ASL. Only when a
friend introduced her to the
Deaf Club in the area did her
spirits pick up and did she
learn Hebrew Sign Language.
Exempt from the life-time
membership fee, Bittker was
offered free attendence on
outings to archeological digs,
folk dances, parties, art
classes and much more with
the local members. She also
gave two lectures on "Con-
trasting Deaf Cultures" and
"Adventures Through
Bittker taught ASL to deaf
high school students and HSL
to deaf kindergarten
There are differences in
Israel's education for the
hearing impaired. She said
two systems exist. Deaf
students can attend
classrooms with hearing
students and a sign language
interpreter, or they can at-
tend a school exclusively for
the deaf.
Unlike the U.S., Israel lacks
a university for the deaf, thus
preventing the hearing im-
paired to get an advanced
degree. she believes such an
institution is essential.
Bittker is currently work,
ing with Becky Pepkowitz-
Tabor, a Jewish chaplain at
Gallaudet University, on a
documentation of her ex-
perience teaching Jewish and
Bedouin students in Israel.

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FRIDAY, AUG. 14, 1987

Bar-Ilan workers treated themselves to a Tiger ballgame after finalizing
plans for the university's annual dinner Sept. 2. Pictured with honoree
Emery Klein, center, are, from left: Larry Jackier, Sharon Hart, Beverly
Liss and Alan Yost.

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