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May 30, 1980 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-05-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

2 Friday, May 30, 1


Purely Commentary

Fiftieth Anniversary of Jewish Braille Institute
of America Invites Attention to Serious Efforts
to Aid Visually Handicapped by a Great Movement

By Philip

A Half-Century of Labors by the Jewish Braille Institute of America

A $200,000 "Challenge Grant" to the Jewish Braille
Institute of America by the National Endowment for the
Humanities draws special attention to the agency that is
providing unmatched services for the blind and near-blind
in this country.
Commencing the 50th year of services, the Braille In-
stitute therefore is encouraged to undertake increased
roles as aid to the visually handicapped.
Dr. Jane Evans, president of the Braille Institute, in an
appeal for cooperation in making the challenge fund work-
able, cast attention on the fact that the grant is a "matching
fund" because private funds must be raised on a three-to-
one basis.
Miss Evans indicates that the new resource funds are
aimed at providing for:
• The .expansion of our 25,000 reel sound li-
brary on to cassettes in multiple copies so that
books can be circulated to a greater number of
readers. This will be of particular blessings to
older people who, although not blind, have ex-
perienced diminishing vision with advancing
years. They will enjoy listening to cassettes.
• The wider publicizing of JBI library services
to those who can benefit from them.
• The development of programs to meet the
needs of blind and visually handicapped students
and others on a more individual basis.
While the Jewish Braille Institute occupies an impor-
tant place in the American Jewish community, its message
is seldom broadcast. Sam Levenson often appeals for sup-
port of its extensive programs. The message needs wider
acceptance. Therefore, at the risk of having it viewed as
propaganda, it is necessary that a complete definition of its
many services should be more readily available. Therefore
the emphasis on this text of the institute's proclamation of
its endeavors:

Youth Education Program
A complete Jewish education for every blind
and partially sighted child with signted children
in neighborhood Conservative, Orthodox and Re-
form religious schools;
Preparation for Bar and Bat Mitzva with the use
of materials in Hebrew and English Braille or
large type;
Children's Braille prayerbooks for use in
synagogue and home worship;
Special Brailling and sound recording of all
textbooks and materials necessary for a Jewish
education, including examinations;
Consultations with rabbis, principals, teachers
and parents.
College and Professional Education
Counseling on college and graduate school ad-
Specialized materials prepared for students of
Couseling and assistance for blind and
partially-sighted students in preparing for pro-
fessional careers in Jewish service — rabbis, can-
tors and others; -
Guidance for blind and partially sighted
graduates and students making aliya to Israel.
Library Services
A lending library of more than 55,000 Braille
volumes in English and Hebrew;
A lending library of more than 23,000 reels and
cassettes of sound recording in English, Hebrew,
Yiddish and other languages;
A growing library of large-print volumes in
English and Hebrew;
Special Brailling and recording of materials re-
quested but not available from other agencies or
Services for the Elderly
Assistance to the elderly blind and visually
handicapped who are isolated and wish to par-
ticipate in Jewish community activities;
Special services to senior centers and residen-
tial facilities;
Extensive sound recorded library materials for
the Yiddish-speaking blind;
Counseling for those seeking help for their
blind and visually impaired elderly pai-ents.

It is estimated that in the United States alone
there are 20,000 Jewish blind in addition to
more than 50,000 who are severely visually im-
paired. More than 180,000 Jews in the United
States cannot read standard-size print with
facility even with the very best prescription glas-
ses or contact lenses. All services of the Jewish
Braille Institute of America are available to any
blind or visually handicapped person regardless
of religious affiliation.

Religious Publications
Most daily and holiday prayerbooks both in
Braille and large type for Conservative, Or-
thodox, and Reform synagogue participation.
Haggadot and special holiday materials in
Braille and large type.

Periodical Literature
Jewish Braille Review: a monthly J3raille maga-
zine on Jewish and related topics read by 2,000
Braille readers;
JBI Voice: a monthly magazine on sound re.
cordings heard by more than 2,000 non-Braille-
reading blind emphasizing Jewish current events
and topics of interest.
Israel Program
Assistance in the development of libraries for
the blind and partially sighted in Israel;
Direct aid to scholars and students;
Educational materials provided to meet the
specific needs of blind veterans;
Assistance to Israeli agencies in acquiring spe-
cialized materials for the blind produced in the
United States and other countries.
An Advisory Service to the
Jewish Communal Agencies
Training of local agency staff who need to in-
crease their knowledge of how to be of service to
the blind and visually impaired;
Consultation with librarians on how to assist
the blind and visually handicapped in fulfilling
their reading needs.
All services and materials of the Jewish Braille
Institute of America are free of charge to the blind
and partially-sighted of the world.
It is vital that these facts be shared with the entire
There are some services for the blind that are known
only to the few that benefit from them, such as the Library
for the Blind that operates from the Farmington Library in
this area.
Miss Evans' appeal for support must not fall on deaf
ears. The recognition given the Jewish Braille Institute by
the National Endowment for the Humanities, with the
"Challenge Grant," must be shared widely. The challenge
of the three-to-one assistance should be met with apprecia-
tion and great generosity.

Women Fought for Independence as Part of Israeli Underground


From Israel Digest

Not all the contributions
women have made to the
state of Israel can be written
about. There are too many,
for one thing, and many are
too intangible, for another.
But there might not even
have been a state were it not
for the heroism of those who
were involved in the under-
Women played active
heroic roles — as fighters,
couriers, radio operators,
fund raisers and nurses.
They were the wives,
mothers, daughters and

fianCees whose suffering
and sacrifice were as great
as that of any frontline
Doris Lankin, a journalist_
whose popular legal col-
umns appear regularly in
the Jerusalem Post, was a
member of the Irgun Zvai
Leumi. Founded in
Jerusalem by a group of
former Hagana comman-
ders, they left the Hagana
in protest against its defen-
sive nature.
They joined forces with
a clandestine armed
group of Betar members
from Tel Aviv and formed

an activist defense group.
In 1937, after another
split, the Irgun accepted
the leadership of Zeev
When Lankin and her
first husband, Shmuel Katz,
arrived in Palestine in
1946, they were quite famil-
iar with the , Irgun. Al-
though they came from
South Africa, they had
spent the war years in Lon-
don where Shmuel Katz was
asked by Jabotinsky to start
a weekly newspaper ad-
vocating the formation of a
Jewish army to fight on the
side of the Allies. When at
long last these ardent
Zionists arrived in Eretz
Yisrael, they both contrib-
uted their all to the upbuild-
ing of the Jewish state.
While her husband was
accepted into the Irgun im-
mediately — and eventu-
ally was part of its High
Command — Mrs. Lankin's
lack of Hebrew disqualified
her from administrative
and propaganda work. And,
as she says, "I am not really
the bomb-throwing type."
Eventually, the Irgun
came to realize that both
her very British appearance
and her British passport
could be quite valuable to
them. These allowed her ac-
cess to many places where
other Palestinians were not
able to penetrate, and thus


Two soldiers during the battle for Jerusalem.


Doris was able to pass on
valuable information where
She also proved quite
adept in trying condi-
tions. She usually began
her speeches describing
the position in Palestine,
explaining the struggle
and aims of the Irgun,
and appealing for dona-
While Lankin liked and
respected the young men in
the Irgun, it was the women
who won her greatest admi-
Foremost among these
were the "forgotten men" of
the underground — the
wives. These were women
who had to run their homes
and bring up their children
on the meager salaries

which were given to all
Irgun members irrespective
of rank.
In her book, "The Lady
Was a Terrorist," Lankin
singled out the quiet, steady
courage of Aliza Begin, who
lived a life of solitude and ill
health in the underground,
never going out in the day-
time for months on end.
There were, Lankin
writes, many other
women who did not
merely sit and wait.
There were those — and
she belongs to this active
category — who partici-
pated–in the struggle.
There were "young girls
who went out on actual
operations; others who
pasted up the wall news-
papers and frequent dec-
larations and warnings;
and yet others who
worked on the radio, who
typed, who acted as mes-

Esther Raziel was a shin-
ing example, Lankin writes,
a wife and mother as well as
an active participant in the
Irgun. She joined this un-
derground movement in its
early years, was imprisoned
by the British several times,
and later worked as a
broadcaster for the move-
When she and her hus-
band were both arrested,

she was sent to the
Bethlehem women's prison
and he to Africa. She was
released briefly to give
birth, then detained and
eventually let go al-

Alone, she raised their
three children, taught
school duripg the day to
support the family, and re-
turned to work for the Irgun
in the evenings. She contin-
ued in this way until the day
the British left Palestine.

In March 1948, with
Katz away collecting
money in America, Mrs.
Lankin decided the time
had come for her to stria'
being a "tame" terrorW.
and to learn how to be
soldier. Soon after ma
ing her decision know
she found herself part o
a group of young women
who were starting „a
course in the handling
and use of firearms.

Mrs. Lankin experienced
the War of Independence,
and the siege of and battle
for Jerusalem. She lived
through it all, participating
in whatever capacity she
could — in field kitchens, as
a nurse in aifIrgun hospital,
as a driver, and on fund-
raising missions to Johan-
nesburg, Geneva, Paris,
Stockholm and London.

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