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"Our Father Abe"

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Katelyn Klieve

on 17 September 2014

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Transcript of "Our Father Abe"

Despite being deaf, Ellis Island declared that Abe was very intelligent and worthy of a spot in America. Their journey paid off and the family is together again!
But not the synagogue??
The Younger Years
"At some point... Abe began to accept that he was deaf.... he became less frustrated and less angry at God and the imperfections and agony of His creation. When that happened, Abe became our Moses, a leader, a spiritual presence in our community."
Our Father Abe
Family Reunited!
He's Going To The Chapel...
Freda realized that her son needed something more. She wanted him to have the best instruction possible. She heard about the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan. They made the choice to send Abe there knowing that the benefits for him would be unexplainable. He was hurt at first and couldn't understand why he was being sent away. He felt alone. Wouldn't anyone? It was here though that Abe finally learned to speak with his hands. He was understood.
It was here that he learned the trade of shoe repair. Abe had always been a hard worker. This was evident when he was younger and selling papers earlier than anyone else in the city. This work ethic transferred over to his work with shoes. When Abe left the school he was fully equipped to be on his own. His reading level was only at 4th or 5th grade when he left, but when you think about where he came from it is truly amazing what he accomplished in those years.
When Abe's mother found out there was a deaf woman of Russian Jewish decent in the area, she jumped at the idea of Abe settling down. What she didn't realize was though both deaf, Abe and Hilda were quite different. Hilda lost her hearing at an older age after her speech had developed. She could read lips and did not know sign language. This made their relationship a little sticky, but they worked through it and fell in love. They got married, but were unfortunately not allowed to be married in the synagogue. Instead the ceremony took place in the Workman's Circle Building. It was a beautiful family with their closest friends and family.
Katelyn Klieve
"The story of a deaf shoe repairman"
17 September 2014
Abraham Banash loses hearing at young age.
Family Welcomes Child Despite Differences
Abe and Hilda welcome Harvey and Eva
A New Family Is Born
A new baby boy has been born to Peter and Freda Barash of Delinkas. Unfortunately Abe and his sister, Lillian became ill and lost some or all of their hearing due to the illness. Lillian partially lost her hearing, but for Abe his world was changed. He was now deaf. This will pose many challenges throughout his life.
When Abe was very young, his father left for America to make a better life for them, Abe's family wasted no time accepting him. He became a favorite being called the "groys knaker". Abe made up his own language and signs to cover the basics. His family learned to understand, but it was sometimes very frustrating for Abe. Eventually he picked up on some Yiddish through lip reading, but it was difficult to distinguish some sounds.
Eventually Freda decided that Abe and Lillian needed something better and it was no longer safe for them there. So they packed up and headed to America.
Although nervous, like any new parents would be, the birth of Eva and then Harvey brought joy to lives of Abe and Hilda. They faced many challenges. The babies slept close by the bed and often Hilda would even fall asleep with her hand in the crib on Eva or Harvey to feel them cry in the night. As they grew up it was difficult for them to be taught speech and listening and the house was very quiet. They encouraged speech and listening though by having a radio for the children to listen to and connecting with other parents who were deaf and had children who could hear. All of their family friends were more than willing to help out with Harvey and Eva. There were still many frustrations though, especially for Abe. It was hard to make ends meat and support his new family and he still struggled with being unable to hear, feeling left out, and thinking that others would say bad things about him. He had some trouble controlling his outbursts on anger and though they got better the older he got the children can still remember some of the outbursts vividly in their minds. Harvey and Eva grew up and became very successful. They eventually got married and went on to have children of their own. Bringing even more joy to Abe and Hilda.
"Our Father Abe"
After a long journey the family finally made it to America. Although, Freda was worried that Abe may not be allowed through he passed the intelligence test with flying colors. The family was reunited at last and headed to Fon du Lac, Wisconsin. Abe's father, Peter, was had not seen his children for years and was not used to the way that Abe communicated. This caused tension in their relationship and many frustrations for Abe.
Abe and his sister attended a school in Fon du Lac and Abe also got a job selling newspapers. He had to come up with his own methods of selling and was an entrepreneur by age ten.
Obituary: Abraham Barash
Abraham Barash, commonly referred to as Abe, passed away in 1987. He was loved by many as a son, brother, father, grandfather, great grandfather friend, husband, shoe repairman, and an upstanding Jewish man. He will be missed by the community, but he has left a lasting impact. His work ethic and contagious spirit will live on for generations to come. Abe's impact on the deaf is one that will never be forgotten. He made so much progress throughout his life for not only himself, but those around him. He was loved greatly by all.
1913 - 1987
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