The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 4 January 2003 / 1 Shevat 5763

A Park for the Blind

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The great sensitivity of the Jewish People for the blind amongst them is as old as the national oath-taking upon entering Eretz Yisrael and as new as a special park for the blind in the land to which they returned.

As they stood on Mount Gerezim and Mount Eival soon after enter Eretz Yisrael the assembled Tribes of Israel accepted an oath by answering "Amen" to the blessing for the person who would refrain from causing a blind person to blunder along his path. A modern application of this was the recent inauguration of the first park in Israel completely equipped for the blind.

Located in the Ben Shemen Forest near Jerusalem this park has attractions for blind people to enjoy with their sense of smell and sense of touch. Explanations in Braille and a raised map of the 800 meter round pathway, situated at the entrance to the park, will aid visitors to find their way through the forest. Fruit and herb gardens combine with wooden structures to enhance the nature experience of the blind through smelling and touching.

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