As an undergraduate at the University of Central Florida in 2012, Jacob Salem knew he wanted to go on a Birthright Israel trip, but wasn’t sure what accessibility services were offered for deaf students. When he learned that Gallaudet Hillel ran an American Sign Language (ASL) trip, he immediately signed up.
Now, Jacob is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration from Gallaudet University and serving as the part-time program director for Gallaudet Hillel, making him the first Hillel professional who is deaf. Fluent in ASL, English, Israeli Sign Language (ISL) and Hebrew, Jacob plans to teach ISL to his students so they’ll be ready for their own Birthright ASL trip. “I want to make sure everything that happens is for them,” he says. “I hope to make an impact on their lives.”