Sign of The Times: Hear O, Israel
Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer, who died Feb. 3, 2022, at age 76 after a brief illness, dedicated his life and spiritual teachings to advocating for the Deaf community and honoring diversity, equity and inclusion in the Jewish Faith. It was personal for him — when he was just 30 days old, Rabbi Goldhamer suffered a botched radiation treatment for a skin ailment, leaving half his body, and most notably his hand, discolored. Growing up he was often teased and treated differently.
Goldhamer was the inaugural subject of Sign of the Times, a new digital series from Tiffany Woolf’s Silver Screen Studios and Reboot, featuring inspiring older Jewish role models, who continue to be activists and advocates for equality and social justice, well into their later years.
Throughout his life, he developed immense compassion for marginalized communities and those deemed “different.” When Goldhamer read about how Deaf people were pushed around by Jewish law and discriminated against, he could relate. This led to the creation of Congregation Bene Shalom in 1973 in Skokie, Illinois, the first of its kind in the United States to serve the Deaf Jewish community.
In 1992, Goldhamer started the Hebrew Seminary, training hearing and Deaf rabbis to work with the Deaf community and be fluent in ASL. To date, the seminary has graduated 20 rabbis.
Goldhamer’s services, all professionally interpreted in American Sign Language (ASL), are joyous, visually engaging, and celebratory, with plenty of clapping, dancing, and upbeat singing. Rabbi Goldhamer’s burned hand, which ostracized him throughout his life, has now become a tool of connection, community and creativity.
And kindness was not just a virtue, but a verb, an “action” for Goldhamer.
“Be kind, be kind, be kind,” he’d say. He lived according to the commandment, “love thy neighbor as you love thyself.”
We were so moved by him and his work that we intend to honor his legacy by practicing kindness in our daily lives. We will mark his birthday, May 1, each year as “Be Kind Day,” and hope others will join us. As the rabbi said: “Wouldn’t that be powerful?” Read more about Rabbi Goldhamer and his legacy and impact on us in this piece in the Forward.
Noam DromiManaging Director - Reboot Studios
Noam Dromi likes helping people make stuff in the media and technology space (and is known to make things himself on occasion). He’s currently helping others in the Reboot network make stuff as the managing director of Reboot Studio and doing some other things too.
Tiffany WoolfPR Pro and Co-Founder of Silver Screen Studios
Tiffany Woolf has over 25 years of PR experience in arts & entertainment, film, and public interest communications, She was on the Dalai Lama’s PR team (yes, even the world’s most enlightened guru needs some promotion from time to time). In 2018, Tiffany partnered with Reboot to launch Silver Screen Studios, a digital platform of shows, featuring interviews with the legends we love from Carl Reiner, Norman Lear, Marion Ross & Larry King to everyday older role models. Tiffany loves to delight in the absurd, loves old people, a good story or joke, kind people and lobster rolls (kosher of course).