A couple of weeks ago, Jewish Deaf Multimedia had a booth at the DeafNation World Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. And it was a smashing success!
We gave out free bookmarks with information about our website and what we do. We offered people the chance to do a mitzvah and put on tefillin. We gave out candle-lighting kits for Shabbat. We schmoozed with passerbys and explained what exactly we do. All in all, it was very meaningful, and we feel we were able to reach out to more people than before by having a booth.
One of the highlights of our presence at the expo was the daily raffle. We sold many tickets, and the lucky winners went home with an autographed copy of "Toward a Meaningful Life" and an exclusive JDMM T-shirt!
The three winners were David Birnbaum of Maryland, Scott Kramer of California, and Joan Revell of Arizona. Congratulations again!
We were also able to meet and greet so many new faces. Every time a person came to our booth and said that he or she never saw our website before, it put a smile on our faces - "Now you have!"
Among the highlights of the three-day booth experience:
- When we asked a passerby if he was by any chance Jewish, his eyes popped out, and he said, "Why are you asking me that question?!" (Yep, he was Jewish.)
- "FINALLY!" That was what one woman said when she spotted our booth. "I am so thrilled to see a Jewish presence at a deaf event!" Yes, you got it exactly - finally!
- "Would you like a brochure?" That was the constant refrain we received from wandering missionaries on their quest to find the next victim. Of course, we politely declined. Every time. It is always sad to discover another well-meaning deaf Jew who abandoned his three-thousand-years-old heritage only because he never had a chance to learn what it is all about. It is things like this that embolden our commitment to bring the beauty and depth of Judaism to every single Jewish deaf person out there.
- "Do you, um, maybe have something for interpreters?" Of course, we do! We have a fantastic resource - the Jewish Signs Glossary. We highly recommend you check it out, if you haven't. It is a great place for the novice signer of Jewish terms to visit. (If you see words that are not yet listed, please tell us!)
- "For you, I am absolutely going to put on tefillin!" That was what a visitor from Finland told us, when we offered him the chance to put on tefillin. He had declined similar earlier offers from hearing people, because of the language barrier. But here at DeafNation - as Joel Barish puts it - there are "no barriers"! For more on this story, read this article.
If you were among the donors who helped out with the expenses for having a booth at the expo - thank you!
If you were one of the kind volunteers who helped us man the booth - thank you!
If you stopped by our booth for a few moments of inspiration - thank you!
If you supported our efforts with the purchase of a raffle ticket - thank you!
And even if you did not come to our booth, don't fret - we are here on the Internet all year around! You know where to find us, be it to make a donation, to ask for spiritual help, or to receive some good authenic Jewish inspiration!