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Duo Creates a Bridge

I met Jill and Amnon a few years ago when Bryna Franklin sponsored a performance of theirs in Sderot. Since then they have appeared here twice more, each time for different audiences. And we have become friends. That first time here they performed before an audience of people with physical and other disabilities. The response of the audience was unbelievable. Jill talked about the dance, and communicated with Amnon, who is deaf, using sign language. There were also deaf people in the audience. The audience participated, came up on stage to dance and followed Amnon's movements. They adjust the performance to each audience according to age. Last time they appeared before small school children,who sat spellbound and wouldn't let them go till they taught some pupils their names in sign language. They couldn't teach the whole audience of 200 children! The involvement of the children was inspiring - they asked Jill how Amnon hears the rocket alert, "Tzeva Adom"! I am writing this, not because of various prizes received – World's Best Deaf Dancer –and a performance at the White House in the USA, but because of what a remarkable couple they are – he from a Yemenite moshav and she from the USA. They are married and have two children. Their partnership has created a bridge between the World of Silence and the World of Sound. Amnon Damti was born on Moshav Givat Ko'ach. His parents came from Yemen. He was born deaf. At the age of five he was sent to a special boarding school for the deaf, and at 15 to a high school in Tel Aviv where he joined Moshe Efrati's Kol Demama (The Voice of Silence), a dance group comprised of deaf and hearing dancers, of which he was soon the star. Jill came to Israel from the United States, one of seven children (six girls and one boy). Her grandfather was a Judge in the New York Supreme Court. She was 23, a gymnast, and she had done water ballet in the States. And then, in Israel, she met Amnon. He taught her sign language and the rest is history.

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Thursday, 06 October 2022

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