In Israel, Poetry Slams for the Deaf

In Israel, Poetry Slams for the Deaf

The room is silent.

Marketed as an ASL (American Sign Language) Slam performance, a recent event in a Jerusalem bar played to a silent audience, the Forward reports.

“Our gift of sign is unique,” performer Douglas Ridloff signed as he left the stage. “It’s a gift of the universe for us. Be strong.”

Marketed as an ASL (American Sign Language) Slam performance, the event was part of a series of recent collaborations and workshops for the Deaf community organized in Israel by the SignTalk Foundation, a US-based advocacy group that is promoting the launch of SignTalkers, a new social network geared toward the signing community.

“I realized that there wasn’t an online community that’s available where the signing community can get together and communicate in sign language,” SignTalk founder Dr. Joseph Geliebter told the Forward.

Sitting in a corner of the bar before the performance, Geliebter — a native New Yorker from the Upper West Side — said he had wanted to “build a space where people can exchange ideas and communicate with other people with the same interests but in sign language.”

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