Page 50 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 32

Basic HTML Version

42
JEW IS H BOOK ANNUAL
true, unadulterated image, to have us known as we are, warts as
well as beauty marks. Experience has taught Jews tha t the conse­
quence of our failure to acquire Jewish knowledge creates a
spiritual and psychological void which the non-Jewish environ­
ment fills with subtle insinuations, half truths and distorted
evaluations about phases of Jewish life which come to be accepted
as “Jewish knowledge.” T he hu r t such “knowledge” inflicts on
Jews is great indeed, according to modern psychiatry.
Before 1931 this was the melancholy situation of the Jewish
blind—totally blacked-out from access to Jewish knowledge and
understanding by the void of Jewish braille books and publica­
tions. Giant strides have been made in vocational guidance and
training, education, research and rehabilitation of the blind, bu t
the ideal that “man doesn’t live by bread alone” must be invoked.
I t is the function of the Jewish Braille Institute to impress upon
American Jewry its community obligation to forestall the inflict­
ing of such psychological hu r t on its blind and sighted members.
I t is our philosophy that the prophylactic against personality
hu rt to the Jewish blind is effective Jewish knowledge, enabling
them to espouse the positive values of the Jewish religion, the
millennia-old, rich experience of Jewish history and the great
aspirations of the Jewish people. Our constant aim is to provide
to the Jewish blind an open sesame to the storehouse of Jewish
knowledge, scholarship, great books and cultural goals.
This is our contribution to a creative synthesis of Jewish and
American knowledge for happy, positive and Jewish living in
America by the Jewish blind. In this way can our sightless co­
religionists revere their heritage and relate to it creatively and
fruitfully, equating Jewish and American values and ideals w ith­
out conflict or fear. Through such a fruitful integration into
American Jewish society the Jewish blind have become part of
our people’s brotherhood.
The Jewish Braille Library has been not only a library for the
Jewish blind, but in a greater sense, a Jewish library for all the
b lind—as non-sectarian as the Bible itself. We have made i t
possible for our discerning Christian readers to see us as we are.
To the extent that we succeed in meeting this goal, we perform
an interfaith function by opening a window on Jews and Juda­
ism. T he Jewish vacuum which existed before Leopold Dubov’s
time, filled for the non-Jewish blind by misinformation, canard