United States

Jewish Synagogue Serving Deaf Community Could Close In Skokie

Congregation Bene Shalom has been around for 47 years

The future of the only full-service synagogue serving the deaf Jewish community in the United States and located in Skokie, is in jeopardy as members say their doors will close if they don't come up with tens of thousands of dollars in the next several weeks.

Skokie’s 47-year-old Congregation Bene Shalom is in trouble and its members urgently ask for a Thanksgiving blessing.

“What we need is financial help... badly,” said Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer.

The assistant to the rabbi, Shari Chen, said that if they don’t receive funds, the temple will likely close in three months.

A benefactor however, as agreed to match the donations dollar for dollar, but only if the the goal of $100,000 is met.

“I pray every day that God has seen our work in the past 50 years and that God would not let us stop teaching deaf people the ancient rules of Torah and Judaism and the scriptures,” Goldhamer said.

Sari Daybook’s said her life changed forever when she walked through the synagogues’ doors at 5 years old.

“I can share my soul using sign language,” she said. “I became Bat Mitvah’d at 13 and worked my way up, and I became a teacher giving my soul to those who were deaf and hard of hearing.”

Community members say the temple has created families—though focused on the deaf, it’s open to everyone.

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