NEW YORK (Jun. 24)
The Jewish Braille Institute today held the unique ceremony of SIYUM to mark the completion of the 67 individual Bar Mitzvah Haftorah prophetic readings in large type Hebrew and English for partially-sighted youth. The Haftorah in Hebrew and English Braille was completed about five years ago. “This is an important occasion.” said Dr. Jacob Freid, executive director of the Institute, “because it means that at long last the partially-sighted or blind Jewish child can fulfill his right to his Bar Mitzvah heritage.” Dr. Freid also hailed the painstaking and meticulous efforts of the volunteers, Mrs. Joseph Gross of Jersey City and Mrs. Arnold Lieberman and Mrs. William Ball of New York in setting up these readings in large type. Dr. Freid added that before the founding of the Jewish Braille Institute of America in 1931 it was virtually impossible for Jewish blind or partially-sighted children to fulfill the requirements for Bar Mitzvah and to demonstrate their competence to assume the privileges and the duties of a full-fledged Jew. This, the first duplicate edition in Jewish history of every one of the sixty-seven Maftirs used throughout the year according to the specific date of the individual Bar Mitzvah ceremony, is a passport to the blind and partially-sighted child’s Bar Mitzvah birthright, Dr. Freid said. The 67 Hebrew and English Braille Maftirs, including the individual Haftorah, were made possible by a grant of the sisterhood affiliates of the Women’s Branch of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.