Deaf rabbi's passion loud and clear

By: Gigi Anders The Washington Post
June 29, 2014 Updated: June 29, 2014 at 7:51 am
Caption +
Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe speaks to members of the Temple Adat Elohim during a Nov. 29, 2013 service in Thousand Oaks, California. Dubowe is the only deaf rabbi leading a major Jewish congregation. Illustrates RABBI (category l), by Gigi Anders, Special to The Washington Post. Moved Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Photo for The Washington Post by Bret Hartman)

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - As she has for the past 16 years, Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe lights the candles and recites the L'Kah Dodi during Friday night Shabbat services at Temple Adat Elohim. The prayer means "Come, my beloved" in Hebrew, a welcoming expression of joy for this holy moment.

With her thick cascade of auburn curls, bright hazel-blue eyes and crimson lipstick, Dubowe speaks with only the slightest impediment and has a natural, warm, charismatic poise.

"We were made to hear by the unified God," Dubowe begins, dusk descending beyond the stained-glass windows. "Your light is coming, rise up and shine."

Soon 35 second-graders from the temple's Hebrew school join the 50-year-old Reform rabbi on the pulpit. They line up in two long rows facing the congregation as Dubowe sings the Shema, one of Judaism's more important prayers.

"Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One."

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