A video of Rabbi Isser Lubecki, a 27-year-old Chabad rabbi from France, helping a Deaf Jewish man put on tefillin and say the Shema in sign language, recently went viral. Viewed tens of thousands of times across various social networks, the video shows Lubecki helping the man with the mitzvah.
Lubecki works with Jewish students as part of Chabad’s Beth Loubavitch Étudiants in Paris’s 5th arrondissement, an area known for its universities and colleges, including the Sorbonne.
Deaf from birth, Lubecki has long focused his energy on reaching out to Jews in the Deaf community. In 2010, he traveled as part of the Merkos Summer Visitation program to Rochester, N.Y., home to one of America’s largest Deaf communities.
In Paris, he visits the Association Culturelle des Sourds Juifs de France (or ACSJF), France’s central association for Deaf Jews each week, to teach a Torah class, tell Jewish stories, help men don tefillin and distribute Shabbat candles to women.
Recently, Rabbi Yaacov Elbaz of Beth Loubavitch Paris 17 contacted Lubecki about a Deaf Jew in his community.
The two met at ACSFJ, and since then, the man has returned weekly to take part in Torah class. During the meeting, Lubecki helped the man put on tefillin and shared it with Lankar. The video was shared to WhatsApp and Facebook, and rapidly took off across the web.
“I don’t know the reason why we are so special—that only Hashem knows,” Lubecki told Chabad.org. “It’s important that people see the video, see how Deaf Jews can pray with sign language and connect to Hashem in this unique way.”