Marla Berkowitz, ASL Senior Lecturer, publishes 1st book

November 24, 2014

Marla Berkowitz, ASL Senior Lecturer, publishes 1st book


Congratulations to ASL Senior Lecturer, Marla Berkowitz, for her recent accomplishment of publishing her first book with co-author, Judith A. Jonas.

Berkowitz has a national certification with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, American Sign Language Teachers Association, and a state certification in court interpreting with the Supreme Court of Ohio, and graduated with two Master’s degrees from New York University and the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. A New York native, she has a younger sister and a brother and three step-siblings, and is the only sibling using ASL in her family. She resides in Columbus, Ohio. 

Jonas is the Founder and Chair of Sister Brother Deaf Inc. a non-profit corporation designed to disseminate information about deaf and hearing siblings. She was the interpreter/editor of Rose Pizzo’s memoir, Growing Up Deaf: Issues of Communication in a Hearing World. As a co-founder of the Fair Lawn Deaf Program, an Adult Basic Education and employment program for deaf adults, Judy co-authored Adult Basic Education for the Deaf which she used to establish similar programs in New Jersey. She has a M.A. degree in Deaf Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University and studied at Union County College: ASL/Deaf Studies and Interpreting for the Deaf program. She is a free-lance sign language interpreter, holding EIPA NJ Educational Interpreter Certification and resides in Maryland.  As the youngest of three siblings, she has several deaf relatives: a brother, sister-in-law, nephew and a niece.  

Deaf and Hearing Siblings in Conversationis the first book to consider both deaf and hearing perspectives on the dynamics of adult sibling relationships. Deaf and hearing authors Berkowitz and Jonas conducted interviews with 22 adult siblings, using ASL and spoken English, to access their intimate thoughts. A major feature of the book is its analysis of how isolation impactsdeaf-hearing sibling relationships. The book documents the 150 year history of societal attitudes embedded in sibling bonds and identifies how the siblings’ lives were affected by the communication choices their parents made.

The authors weave information throughout the text to reveal attitudes toward American Sign Language and the various roles deaf and hearing siblings take on as monitors, facilitators, signing-siblings and sibling-interpreters, all of which impact lifelong bonds.

For inquiries or further information, contact authors at:

A book signing and reception will be held in January, honoring Berkowitz on this recent achievement. Details to come.