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Braille Version of Reform Movement Prayerbook Mishkan T'fila

At Or Ami, we celebrate diversity; we embrace those with special needs. Thus we were pleased to read that an Alameda woman’s efforts yield Jewish prayer book in Braille. As Marta Yamamoto writes:

It’s true — one individual’s efforts can succeed in benefiting many. Thanks to the efforts of Alameda resident Toby Berger, solving the problem of providing a Braille edition of a new Reform Jewish prayer book was set in place.

The process took longer than expected due to funding issues and personnel cutbacks at the Central Conference of American Rabbis Press, but the book is now available to the visually impaired across the United States.

It began in early 2007 when Reform congregations released, “Mishkan T’filah.” Alyssa Chadow, an Alameda resident and member of Berger’s synagogue at Oakland’s Temple Sinai, took it for granted that a Braille version of the prayer book would be made available.

“I’d always had the prayer book in Braille, so I felt this was never an issue,” she said.

Rabbi Hara Person became publisher at the Central Conference of American Rabbis Press in the fall of 2008.

“In the past, CCAR would put out a book, and the Jewish Braille Institute would automatically Braille it,” Hara said. “But when ’Mishkan T’filah’ was published, because of what happened economically in the world, there was no funding available to do it, and there was nobody in the position of publisher at CCAR.”

Thus it was up to individuals to make it happen. Read on…

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