IM this article to a friend!

February 20, 2003

Seeing the Sounds on Purim

From: Arutz Sheva, Israel - 20 Feb 2003

The Orthodox Union (OU), best known for its kashrut certification, is also involved in community and synagogue services, adult education, youth work through NCSY, political action through the IPA, and advocacy for persons with disabilities through Yachad and Our Way. One of their recent projects, developed last year by the OU’s National Jewish Council for the Disabled (NJCD), is a program that enables deaf and hearing-impaired individuals to follow along while the Megillah is read in the synagogue on Purim. The program is to be made available throughout the United States and Canada in time for Purim this year.

The program, the Power Point Megillat Esther Program, was developed by Frank Duchoeny, the Montreal Coordinator of Our Way for the Jewish Deaf, a division of NJCD. The program uses a computer that projects the words of the Megillah onto a screen and even provides visual "sound effects" every time the name of Haman is read. According to Duchoeny, the program was developed in response to a request from Montreal’s Congregation Tifereth Beth David, which wanted to include the deaf community in the Megillah reading. The program is beneficial as well for the elderly and for others with disabilities who cannot follow along from a regular text.

Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem said, “The Power Point Megillah presentation touched all of our members. It allowed everyone, hearing and deaf, to experience the Megillah together. Instead of being in a sense scattered and divided [a quote from the Esther scroll], we were able to join as one for the Megillah reading.” Dr. Jeffrey Lichtman, National Director of NJCD, said, “The program heightens the awareness of the hearing community that there are deaf and hearing-impaired individuals who have in the past been deprived of the true Megillah experience, but who will now be able to enjoy it together with the hearing population.”

Our Way/NJCD will make this program available to all interested synagogues by sending a CD ROM upon request for a fee of $100. Running this program requires Power Point and Office XP or Office 2000, a laptop and projector. For more information, please call 212-613-8127 or email

© Arutz Sheva Israel Broadcasting Network