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Faith and tradition are central to the lives of so many people. And yet, until recently, many people with disabilities were denied the right to implement the basic traditions of their faith.
That changed when they were introduced to CSB Care, computer sciences for people who are blind or people with ALS. This technology provides electronic braille display, scan, different fonts, page changer and much more, making Jewish texts more accessible.
As we celebrate the Jewish holidays, so many amongst us can enjoy an inclusive chag, follow the prayers in synagogues, and not skip any of the multiple rituals.
In an interview for the Ruderman Family Foundation, Rabbi Nachum Lehman, founder of CSB Care shares how it all began: “I knew someone who was learning and studying Talmud in Brooklyn and lost his vision when he was only in his 30s. Since I was a programmer, he turned to me for help, wondering what can be done to assist him in quickly going back to his studies.”
That was back in 1997. Throughout the years Nachum developed a ground breaking system, an acronym for Computer Sciences for people who are blind or with visual impairment. Today CSB was developed to also assist people with ALS who can now easily read Hebrew to pray or study. “After a few years we started working with people who have ALS and turned to us due to their growing vision problem. As we noticed the other challenges they’re facing, we immediately began working on new developments to consider their other disabilities.”
It gives blind adults and children the ability to learn and teach Torah, overcoming the limitations of vision loss. The system combines an electronic braille display, an extensive library of Torah sources and texts, and an easy to use computer interface to achieve any level of reading or learning.
A user can navigate instantly and can search for words, phrases, chapter, and many others. The Braille equivalent of the Hebrew text is displayed in the form of hundreds of dynamically changing electronic pins.
The system now works with a wireless Braille display, scroll wheels for swift navigation, linking between texts and commentaries in Chumash, Gemara, and Shulchan Aruch, and allows search via direct braille interface.
Thousands of people are now celebrating the holiday thanks to Rabbi Lehman. He tells us he is very busy this time of year, when people are reaching out from so many countries in the world and he personally, along with the team, is making sure all individual challenges are addressed. CSB has developed and implemented hundreds of modified systems in order to make sure it will become fully accessible to everybody.
“Just this morning I got 2 requests”’ he says. “I’m sure the more people are were of this option, the more will join us. We get messages of people crying, saying it’s the first time they could celebrate the holidays.”
When you reach out to CSB, you can choose every element from the size of each text to the color. You can adjust your electronic Hebrew Braille system that provides users the access to Torah in its entirety. CSB provides electronic trail training at all times.
Usually electronics is prohibited in the synagogues, but in this case, says Nachun,”no one ever said no.”
The system is free of any charge and can be used 365 days of the year.
For more information about CSB: www.computersciences.org