August 20, 2019

Including A Loved One with a Visual Impairment at Your Seder

As we get ready to start cleaning our houses (ugh!) and eating up all the crackers in the very back of the pantry, there’s something else to think about—ordering a free large-print Haggadah for an elderly relative coming to your seder whose vision is fading, or a child or teen who has a reading disability and would benefit from a larger print size. For many people, being able to see and read the larger-print version of the Haggadah can make a huge difference in their ability to fully participate in the reading and songs of the evening, and best of all, it is free!

JBI International will mail a large print Haggadah out for free, but people do need to order before April 7th, either online by clicking here or by calling 1-800-999-6476. And you have a choice between Traditional Hebrew/English, Reform Hebrew/English, Sephardic Hebrew/English, Russian/Hebrew or Spanish/Hebrew. They also have an audio haggadah as well as a Braille version.

And year-round, the JBI Talking Books Library provides free “talking books” and magazines of Jewish interest, complete with an audio player that can be adjusted for volume and speed. They also have the Bible, prayer books and other liturgical materials available in audio, large print and Braille. They have the largest collection of Jewish interest books in the world for the blind, visually impaired and reading disabled, containing well over 13,000 Talking Books, as well as several thousand Braille titles and Large Print materials. The Library uses the broadest possible interpretation of “Jewish interest” when selecting materials for its collection, which encompasses poetry, fiction, history, biography, short stories, humor, psychology and self help, Jewish studies, memoirs, cookbooks, mysteries and more.

Founded in 1931 as the Jewish Braille Institute of America to help the blind and visually impaired in the United States, JBI International today is a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the Jewish and general cultural needs of the visually impaired, blind, physically handicapped and reading disabled – of all ages and backgrounds in the United States, Israel and worldwide.

Locally, you can contact Leslie Friedman, Southern California Program Director at 323-500-3700 or at

One very moving story Leslie shared with me was from a father whose 15 year-old daughter is blind and receives Braille materials from JBI:

“I wanted to once again thank JBI for all of the support they have provided for Jordan over the past several years. Without JBI, Jordan would have never been able to take the Journey towards becoming a young Jewish woman and towards gaining her understanding and appreciation for G-d in her life. “

Now about that cleaning…