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for the Blind

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Message of Renewed Hope, delivered before the Boston Jewish Club at Boston, Massachusetts (September 10, 1952)

Transcription

Shalom, dear Friends!

There is a particular pleasure for me in addressing your Club because of your friendly reception. Then there is the privelege I have had to visit the Commonwealth of Israel -- a Messenger of Renewed Hope.

What a marvellous revelation Miss Thomson and I had in that country of infinite creative possibilities with which God has endowed man! What an abundance of life with all its dreams and ideals we saw flowing mightily in Israel every day! I was electrified by the prodigious, diverse tasks of Hadassah and the Histadruth. In them I beheld a storehouse of undreamed spiritual and mental resources developed during two thousand years of experimental training in terrible situations.

When we witnessed so much that was ably executed and forward- looking, I was all the more grieved on finding the schools for the blind and the deaf pitifully inadequate. It is true, I admired the alert intelligence, imagination and patience of the teachers and the skill with which they assist their pupils despite scanty educational equipment. But the schools for both groups desperately need effective instructional apparatus. The blind must have Braille writers, embossed text-books, manual tools, special appliances and oh, so much more! The teachers are fighting a heart-breaking battle against the hampering conditions under which they must work. What I should like you to do is to furnish those schools with the equipment they so badly need and have teachers trained either here or in Israel who will continue the work of "bringing out the blind that have eyes and the deaf that have ears."

Besides, those schools are overcrowded, and there are many children, blind or deaf, waiting for admission. The Institute in Jerusalem bears the double burden of caring for blind adults because there is a housing shortage due to the necessity of aiding the multitude of immigrants who seek a home in Israel. Suppose you lived there. How would you feel if a little one of your own lost his sight or hearing, and you discovered that there was not room for him in the schools for the handicapped? Earnestly I beg you to raise funds for enough buildings to shelter the blind and the deaf and ensure their God-given heritage of education.

Another distressing circumstance is that the workshops where the blind or the deaf try to earn their living lack proper tools and raw materials to produce salable commodities. A way must be found to aid those struggling workers towards self-support and an honorable status as partners in the upbuilding of Israel.

In Nathanya I visited the library for the blind where women transcribe by hand books in many languages. Their devotion is wonderful, but the process is slow at best, and the blind who speak Hebrew must have a Braille printing-press to obtain quickly the books they require.

Here in America the blind and the deaf have every advantage, but over there they fight for every bit of education! They cannot overcome both blindness and poverty without your assistance. As the Bible says, life never forgives us if we "come behind in any good work." I promised my friends in Israel that I would try to secure financial aid for their handicapped. Beseechingly I hold out my hands to you to help me keep this pledge. If you do, God's Face will truly shine upon you.

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