Voices of Hope | Shani Nisman

Added on: 4th May 2015

Shani Nisman came on Career Israel 17 in September 2014 and interned at the Micha Center

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Shani and her cousin,  Rabbi Rebecca

“I watched a toddler 10 months old with a Bilateral Cochlear Implant as he listens to a nursery rhyme. The therapist stopped the melody from time to time, to have him listen to the differences between sound and silence. When he heard a sound he began to smile and dance, and when the music stopped, he looked at the music player with a sorrowful look, asking to hear other sounds. We were overwhelmed by emotions and our eyes were constantly full of tears. This tiny child was now able to hear like a normal child. ”                       

Volunteer Shani Nisman shares:

Until recently I lived in California, USA, where I was born. I earned a Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Kansas in Judaism but that’s not where my curiosity about Israel ended. In August this past year, I came to Israel, as part of “Masa” to specialize in speech therapy and the deaf community in Israel. My only exposure in this area has been with a cousin of mine, Rebecca, who is deaf from birth, and much of my childhood I spent with her.

Rebecca is the world’s first deaf woman Rabbi to be ordained, and this is a real pride for me and my family. She was selected as one of the 50 most influential Rabbis in America and now serves the Rabbinic Jewish community in California.

Apart from my desire to develop the field of speech therapy (speech pathology), I also wanted to know the life in Israel, and once I was accepted to the program that helps young people to specialize in the profession in Israel – I knew it was a rare opportunity and I needed to take it with both hands. After extensive research on schools and work centers in the field of speech therapy and the deaf community, I came across the Micha Center – a multidisciplinary center that helps hundreds of children with hearing impairment. Fortunately, they accepted me for a five-month Internship.

I consider the observation of speech therapy as part of treatment, to be one of the most fascinating experiences for me. The influence of caregivers to children is not in doubt, and treatments have helped me to understand my career path.

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“Treatments have helped me to understand why I am choosing this career path”

During one of the treatments as an Intern, I watched a toddler 10 months old, with bilateral cochlear implants when he listened to singing children using a music player. The therapist stopped the melody from time to time, to have him listen to the differences between sound and silence. When he heard a sound he began to smile and dance, and when the music stopped, he looked at the music player with a sorrowful look, asking to hear other sounds. We were overwhelmed by emotions and our eyes were constantly full of tears. This tiny child was able to hear like a normal child. “                

“She did not let her deafness, stop her from fulfilling her dreams”

Even the way my cousin, Rebecca, faced her hearing disability served me as a great inspiration. During my time here in Israel, Rebecca calls and is interested in what I am doing, and expresses interest and a lot of excitement. My relationship with her has always been very meaningful for me. She is the only one in the family born deaf, but in our eyes, it wasn’t considered a limitation, but rather something unique that so characterized her.

Rebecca has never let deafness stop her from fulfilling her dreams, and to this day it continues to influence and touch so many people wherever she goes. Her life journey started in the US, thru a stay in Israel, and later on certified as the first woman Rabbi in the world.

I learned from my cousin that there is nothing that stands in the way, and without a doubt, she has been a big part in my choosing the field of Speech Pathology and to engage in Speech Therapy specifically among the deaf.

I believe that with awareness among the public, new technology, early detection and study of spoken language, you can help all children and hard of hearing adults. At the Micha Center, I learned how essential this field is to Israeli society and decided that, as of now, I am staying in Israel, and I hope I will be an integral part of the social fabric in Israel someday.

– Translated Article from Hebrew on Ynet –    April 5, 2015   View the Original Article Here