Page 49 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 32

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FRE ID AND BORGERSEN / T H E JEW IS H B R A ILL E L IBRARY
41
co-religionists the rad ian t realization of a long and devoutly
cherished dream—the Holy Bible in its sacred text—right under
their fingertips. Prayerfully and most reverently, we say ‘What
God H ath W rought’.”
In May 1950, the
New York Times
said: “We salute the Insti­
tute for its great work.” Since its publication, the Hebrew Braille
Bible has gone through many editions and several hundred com­
plete sets have been presented as gifts to blind Jewish and non-
Jewish Hebrew and biblical scholars. I t was appropriate tha t the
Book of Books be the first Hebrew braille publication in history.
Subsequently, the official Reform, Conservative and Orthodox
prayer books were printed as faithful and complete Hebrew and
English braille duplicates. For to the Jewish blind man or
woman, his prayer book is a lifeline enabling him to be a fully
participating member of his congregation and an integrated and
identified peer in the Jewish community.
T he Library is now contemplating a hi-fidelity recording of
the epochal history of Jewish music. I t will begin with pre-
biblical music in Sumer and Egypt, continue with biblical music
through the centuries un til the present. There will be separate
sections for Hazzanut, Ladino, the Diaspora, Yiddish, Israeli,
instrumental and vocal, folk, lay and liturgical music, etc. The
project will be under the aegis of the foremost contemporary
Jewish musicologists and will cover the entire range of Jewish
music in some 250 hours of hi-fidelity records, tapes and cassettes.
In Nebraska Dr. M. M., a noted internist and clinical professor
of internal medicine, became a blind diabetic. He became a re­
cluse and gave up his teaching and practice; bu t by insistent
persuasion he learned English and then Hebrew braille. When
he received his complete United Synagogue prayer book in He­
brew and English braille and
davened
with his sighted congre­
gants, he again became an active participant in the community.
The prayer book was his catalyst back to normality. He recon­
stituted his practice with a sighted general practitioner and
nurse and returned to teach at the University Medical School.
There are many other personal stories equally heartwarming.
In making Jewish books available to the blind and visually
handicapped in braille, on records and tapes, and in large type,
we were confronted with the problems of a minority group in a
majority non-Jewish culture. We decided to project Jewry in its