From the May 2016 issue of The Forward:
When he was growing up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in the late 1980s, Darby Jared Leigh was the only deaf kid at his synagogue.
He was also the only deaf kid at his high school, and just about everywhere else he spent time.
At home, deafness was the norm: Both of Leigh's parents were deaf. But out in the world, being profoundly deaf set him apart.
"I very much grew up in a minority experience," Leigh said.
Now a rabbi with a congregation near Boston, Leigh's childhood experience has led him to a radically inclusive vision of Judaism that embraces those who have been left out.
"I always felt like a bit of an outsider," he told the Forward. "It makes me a good fit for a community that is trying to [help] people who have often marginalized from the Jewish community to feel at home."
Leigh's congregation, Kerem Shalom, is a small, unaffiliated synagogue in Concord, Massachusetts. Kerem Shalom emphasizes its accessibility, and the diversity of the community it brings together.