Cochlear Implants & Jewish Law
And the ears of the deaf shall Be unstopped.
The medical community does not cherish sign language, the deaf experience, or any of the elements of Deaf culture. One might argue that the medical community is so focused on "fixing," "curing," and eliminating deafness, that they do not see the inherent divinity in deaf people, and the divine worth of the language and culture the deaf experience has created. This runs counter to the principle behind reciting m'shaneh habriyot and the lessons learned by doing so: namely, that there is a spectrum of human diversity on the planet and that all of this diversity reflects divinity
The responsibility of Jews with respect to the cochlear implant is only to make sure that individuals considering this medical procedure have access to all of the relevant information from the medical community, the Deaf community, and from within Jewish tradition. Once this is done, others should step back and respect the divine image within those individuals, and allow them the space and freedom to reach their own conclusions and make their own decisions.
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