AG Bell Elects Jonathan Berger to its Board of Directors; Rachel Arfa Appointed to Second Term

Washington, D.C. – June 19, 2013 – The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) announces the election of Jonathan Berger to its board of directors for the July 1, 2013-June 30, 2016 term.

Jonathan Berger lives in New York, N.Y., and has been a board member of the New York Chapter of AG Bell since 2007, where he also conceptualized and ran the Teen Socialization

Workshop. He received his B.A. in rhetoric and philosophy from the Carnegie Mellon University in 1993 and his J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 1999. Berger is an associate at Levisohn Berger LLP where he engages in a broad based intellectual property practice.

Berger has severe to profound bilateral hearing loss that was diagnosed at age 2. He received bilateral cochlear implants in his late 30s. His wife, Meredith Berger, is the director of Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in New York City. They have two girls, Noa, age 5, and Eila, age 2, who has bilateral microtia/atresia.

"As an AG Bell board member, I will draw upon my perspective as an adult with hearing loss in the mainstream, a parent of a child with hearing loss, as well as my legal training and profession, my experience on the boards of St. Joseph’s School for the Deaf and the New York chapter of AG Bell, my wife’s role at the Clarke School, and my own problem-solving skills," said Berger.

Jonathan BergerBerger has a strong desire to instill in children, young adults, and their families that hearing loss should not limit or define their self-worth; rather, it’s how they meet their challenges, hearing loss-related or otherwise, that develops their resilience and character.

"We are very lucky to have Jonathan Berger join an already outstanding board team. He brings important legal skills in addition to indispensable life experiences as an individual with hearing loss coupled with the perspective of a parent of a child with hearing loss," said Donald M. Goldberg, Ph.D., CCC-SLP/A, FAAA, LSLS Cert. AVT, president of the AG Bell Association.

AG Bell is also pleased to announce the appointment of Rachel Arfa to its board of directors for the July 1, 2013-June 30, 2016 term. This is Arfa's second term after being elected for the 2010-2013 term.

Arfa is an attorney at Equip for Equality, which is the state of Illinois’ designated protection and advocacy agency whose mission is to advance the human and civil rights of children and adults with physical and mental disabilities in Illinois. Attorney Arfa advocates on behalf of people with disabilities in employment and civil rights matters regularly appearing on behalf of clients in federal court and in negotiations including with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Previously, she was employed as an attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee where she worked in housing and consumer law litigation, including representing tenants in eviction cases in court on a weekly basis and also worked on a class action on behalf of consumers victimized by auto title lending loans.

Rachel ArfaArfa is a graduate of University of Wisconsin Law School, and received a B.A. in American culture from University of Michigan. In both college and law school, she used computer-assisted real time captioning.

“We are thrilled that Rachel Arfa has agreed to serve for another term as an AG Bell board member. Her tireless enthusiasm on behalf of the rights of people with hearing loss is contagious and we look forward to having her perspective and ideas for another term,” said Goldberg.

Arfa was born with a profound hearing loss which was diagnosed at 18 months of age. She received a cochlear implant on her left ear 17 years ago and received a second cochlear implant on her right ear three years ago. She credits AG Bell for giving her a strong sense of confidence and support as a person who uses spoken language and in helping her to develop invaluable leadership skills.

"I am honored to continue my involvement with AG Bell and to continue to advocate for the rights and needs of the community of adults who are deaf and hard of hearing," said Arfa.

About the AG Bell Association
The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) helps families, health care providers and education professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention. Through advocacy, education and financial aid, AG Bell helps to ensure that every child and adult with hearing loss has the opportunity to listen, talk and thrive. With chapters located in the United States and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell supports its mission: Advocating Independence through Listening and Talking! Visit ListeningandSpokenLanguage.org.