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Democrat and Chronicle
By James Goodman, Staff writer
December 20, 2014

The Deaf Hanukkah Celebration that will be held Monday evening in Rochester features a deaf rabbi committed to making Jewish culture accessible to members of the deaf community.

Rabbi Yehoshua Soudakoff, who lives in Brooklyn, has become not only an advocate for deaf Jews but also for removing any barriers that prevent equal treatment of deaf people.

He will light the menorah at the Deaf Hanukkah Celebration at the Chabad House on Genesee Street.

"The holiday of Hanukkah imparts us with a timeless message: to add more and more! On each night of Hanukkah, we increase in the number of flames, adding more light to the world," Soudakoff wrote in an email describing the message he brings.

The event, he added, is a way to strengthen "our sense of Jewish Deaf identity."

At the age of 23, Soudakoff has established a website and a nonprofit to help deaf Jews. His stop in Rochester is part of a Hanukkah tour for the deaf and hard of hearing that includes appearances in Manhattan at the Museum of Jewish Heritage and at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

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