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Disabilities

Near Sighted at the Mikveh

It’s the little things that sometimes jump out to make me realize that I don’t see quite as well as others. A few times I have asked the mikveh lady why they don’t have the bracha printed on the wall, and laughed when she said, “it’s right there on the wall.” I know that etched glass and silver with white are “in,” but in all honesty, I can’t see them. And while I laugh, printing the words a contrasting color would make it so much easier for me, and I’m sure many others.   The less I need to ask for help, for me the better.  

The Sound of Water

Practical take-aways for mikveh attendants: 1-There's a lot of anxiety for a woman who can't hear all the things that happen around her. Make sure she knows that you're there with her and you'll be patient. 2- Make a thumbs up to let her know her immersion was complete.  Or wait to say “kosher” until she's completely out of the water and has turned around to face you to see your lips and hands.  Perhaps hold up a sign that says kasher.  Best if this worked out before she removes her hearing aides. 3- Have the bracha and the יהי רצון on the wall or printed on a laminated paper. Having to repeat after the balanit is difficult and disempowering. 4- When designing a mikveh, see if it's practical to put in a call button with a light so that the deaf person can know when she's being called to come out. 5- The deaf tovelet is/may be depending on you for the cues of how to proceed.  Make sure you're clear and direct her not only with words but also with signs/motioning/body language.  If you are speaking to her make sure she can see your lips.  Especially because she is usually equipped with hearing devices, she is not a pro at reading other cues so help her as best as you can.

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