Page 46 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 32

Basic HTML Version

38
JEW IS H BOOK ANNUA L
America, Inc. Soon after NFTS was joined by the Women’s
League of the United Synagogue, the Women’s Branch of the
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations and Ivriah as sponsor­
ing groups and volunteers providing braille, recording and large-
type books for the Jewish blind and partially-sighted.
In many cases, the books of the Jewish Braille Library brought
its readers their first knowledge of the great Jewish poets and
writers, such as Chaim Nachman Bialik and Israel Zangwill. A
new world of Jewish appreciation of its literature and creativity
came into existence, and appetites were whetted and satisfied
with the literary works made available. In this manner the entire
enterprise was integrated into a planned whole whose aim was
first stated in 1931, to “promote the cultural and religious needs
of the Jewish blind,” on the one hand by presenting the works
of noted Jewish poets, novelists, essayists, critics and the master-
works of Jewish literature, and on the other hand an internation­
ally acclaimed magazine of high intellectual achievement,
The
Jewish Braille Review.
Since that time, the Jewish Braille Library has tried to per­
form for our blind the function of educators everywhere—the
education of the Jewish blind to their heritage, and of all the
blind to the discipleship of true democracy.
The Jewish Braille
Review
and the Library have been in their small way vehi­
cles of adult education and popular statesmanship supplying
wordsight to the sightless. They have attempted to give guidance
on behalf of the enlargement of democracy and the achievement
of its social, economic and political promise for all regardless of
race, creed, color, national origin or physical disability. For not
only upon the insight of the sightless bu t also upon the insight
of all people into the vital issues of our time, important social
consequences depend; and in some measure our magazine and
library have helped to surmount the barriers to the mountain
passes of knowledge in making accessible to the Jewish and non-
Jewish blind the information and understanding which should
be theirs for the good life. Today the Library is the largest private
braille library in the world not supported by municipal, state or
federal funds. I t contains more than 50,000 braille volumes:
41,000 in English and 9,000 in Hebrew braille, 1,700 English and
92 Hebrew Talking Books, in addition to its 200 Yiddish record­
ings and 178 large-type titles.