Braille Sefer Torah Project
Jewish blind people and those with visual impairments, in the majority of communities, have not been given the opportunity to participate as a reader in a Sefer Torah congregational service. This had been the case for millennia. Although the statement would seem self-evident, the modern invention of Hebrew braille has placed a new context on this topic.
How people with disabilities fit within the Jewish community has been debated for thousands of years. The general view is that the blind and the visually impaired should be considered full members of the community but restrictions applied by those communities on this demographic has led to less than full acceptance.
The majority of the customs for the creation of a sefer Torah were promulgated in the eighth century and printed in the text Masekhet Soferim. Braille did not yet exist. Judaism has always adapted the application of its precepts based on context. Today we have the ability to create a braille Sefer scroll and thereby include this segment of Jews in a congregational Torah reading. The goal of this project is to define an avenue for the greatest number of blind and visually impaired Jews to participate in their community Torah reading.
This current project has created a braille Sefer Torah. It also encompasses a defined program of how the scrolls will be used by Jewish blind individuals that make up this demographic.
The creation of braille Sefer Torahs will potentially affect hundreds of thousands of Jews nationwide and potentially worldwide.
For details about this project please contact Rabbi Sarko on the contact link.
There are more than 400,000 blind and/or visually impaired Jewish people in the United States. Although there are m any organizations that teach English braille, there are very few that teach Hebrew braille.
As an augment to the Sefer Torah project, a need arose to teach Hebrew braille so those who are blind or visually impaired can use the scrolls. Devarim Institute has creating a learning program, that will teach Hebrew braille.
The program allows the learner to go at their own page and learn at home. We will send a set of workbooks. Each set will have a braille version and a text version. The braille version will be in both English and Hebrew braille. The learner will need to know how to read uncontracted English braille to do this course.
The text version is in English and contains pictures of the material to be learned. In this way the local helper of the student does not need to know Hebrew or Braille.
For more information please contact Rabbi Sarko with the information on the contact page.