President’s April 2019 Column

In just a few weeks, we’ll be celebrating Passover! Our community Passover seder is Saturday, April 20th at 6 pm. In preparation, we’re holding a kitchen clean-out this coming weekend, on Sunday, March 31st, at 10 am. Join us to spring clean the kitchen and hunt for chametz. See the bulletin for details, we hope you can join us for the seder!

Did you know that Sisterhood played a key role in helping the blind? Although the Temple Judah Sisterhood has disbanded, the ladies involved did many great things for the community. They were key to enable blind people to overcome obstacles in everyday life, from studying in school to reading a newspaper or a phone book. Several ladies, notably Mrs. Donald Brown, Mrs. Paul Rapoport, Mrs. B.W. Beechen, Mrs. Charles Schwartz, and Mrs. Henry Katz, spent up to six or eight hours a day translating books into Braille and recording books on tape. They took on urgent tasks, working for local blind students who needed textbooks translated. According to an article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, dated Oct 24, 1971, some of the work they did for local students included seventh and eighth grade math books for a boy, Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” for a girl, and foreign language books. Considering that Braille itself is almost a foreign language, these ladies were accomplishing amazing work.

When the urgent tasks for the students were completed, they tackled work with less stringent deadlines for the Library of Congress. Certification to translate books into Braille for the Library of Congress wasn’t easy. The volunteer would first study for several months before submitting a trial manuscript, which had to be near perfect, in order to certify. When reading Braille, small mistakes can add up to a great deal of confusion, and since there’s no fixing a mistake on a Braille typewriter, the entire page would have to be redone.

The ladies of Sisterhood also helped the elderly, whose sight was partially impaired, by writing newsletters in large print. Although the Sisterhood paid for materials and supplies, these ladies were volunteers who gave of their time because they felt it was so important to improve the lives of people who would otherwise be left behind. The work they did is a noble example of Tikkun Olam, healing the world by actively working to be inclusive and give others the same opportunities for education and communication.

Save the date! Our President’s BBQ and Congregational Annual Meeting is Sunday, June 2nd! Come for the BBQ and potluck dinner at 5:30 pm, stay for the meeting which begins at 6:30 pm.

Check the bulletin for all the other great events happening in our community!