Monday, March 26, 2012

Trip to Israel for Youth who are BothJewish and Blind

Israel on the Horizon Summer Experience in
Israel for Blind and Visually Impaired Yuth

summer 2012 Ofek Liyladenu Israel National
Association of Parents of Blind and Visually
Impaired Children, in conjunction with the
Jewish Institute for the Blind in Jerusalem, are
planning the first special Israel summer tour
program for blind and visually impaired youth,
ages 15 to 21. The pilot trip will be for twelve
days, combining educational touring throughout
the country with outdoor activities and social
programs with Israeli youth. The 2012 summer
program has reached out to include visually
impaired youth from North America, England and
Australia. The Israel experience has always
been seen as an essential part of fostering
Jewish identity and creating a bond between Jews
around the world. Today, over 300,000 youth, 18
to 26 years old have participated in the Taglit
Birthright program, bringing youth from all over
the world to Israel for a 10 day educational
experience. Research reflects that this
experience is powerful in influencing Jewish
identity, a connection to Israel, and solidarity
with the Jewish people. Where Israel once
received high ratings as inaccessible to people
with disabilities, today the Ministry of Tourism
has made great efforts to make tourism more
accessible to those with disabilities and
tourist companies have sprung up offering
accessibe tourism for all ages. Potential
highlights of the trip include: • Jerusalem’s
Old and New cities, including the Western Wall
and Jerusalem’s unique markets • Climbing
Masada and swimming in the Dead Sea • Visit to
Bedouin tent and discussion of minorities in
Israel • Neot Kedomim, the biblical landscape
reserve • Sports including goal ball, tandem
biking, horseback riding and
swimming • Meetings with individuals and
organizations involved in issues of disability
rights in Israel, including Members of
Knesset • Visit to Israel Defense Force base
for a briefing and army experience. We hope
you’ll join us and tell your friends about the
program. For more information, and
pre-registration contact: Bob Fenton:

>> Ofek Liyladenu Jewish Institute for the Blind


>> Ofek Liyladenu ­ Israel National Association
of Parents of Blind and Visually Impaired Children
>> Spring 2012

Ofek Liyladenu ­ Israel National Association
of Parents of Blind and Visually Impaired
Children is an organization that advocates for
the needs of the 3,000 blind and visually
impaired children in Israel. Established in
1997 by Guila Seidel, whose daughter Nellie was
born blind, we provide a friendly supportive
network for families, offer updated
information, and initiate and implement
innovative projects to maximize the integration
of our children into mainstream society. In
addition to building a warm caring community
for families and children, our wide range of
activities benefit 20,000 visually impaired and
blind adults throughout the country and promote
awareness of the needs and rights of the blind
among the general public in Israel. The
organization is operated by volunteers and two part-time staff members.

>> Main Activities of Ofek Liyladenu (Our Children’s Horizon) include:

Advocacy: Promoting solutions to the needs
of our children and others with disabilities
through advocacy in government and the Knesset.
We hold individual meeting with Members of
Knesset, Knesset committees, the Ministry of
Education, the Ministry of Welfare and the
National Insurance Institute. This year, in
conjunction with B’zchut ­ Israel Human Rights
Center for People with Disabilities, we
petitioned the High Court demanding that all
educational materials, including matriculation
exams, be made accessible in Braille, large print and audio format.

>> Public Education and Awareness: “Seeing It
Differently” is a project where blind youth
lead an experiential workshop for non-visually
impaired audiences through which they can
convey the everyday challenges of being blind.
In addition, the chairperson of Ofek and parent
volunteers devote time to media appearances and
meet regularly with medical students, parents
from kindergartens for the visually impaired,
teachers and other groups. Our annual
conference is a platform for sharing new ideas
and knowledge with parents and professionals
and serves to promote awareness among the general public.

>> Supporting Parents: Parent volunteers
provide practical advice, support and
encouragement to other parents of blind
children, thus building a warm, supportive
network for families. In addition, parent
groups, a hotline, e-letter, bi-annual magazine
and a website are all part of our wide support
network, providing up-to-date information,
referrals and advice. Family gatherings held
throughout the year give parents and siblings a
safe caring environment in which to meet other
families that cope with similar challenges.

>> Special Programs: “Work on the Horizon”, a
summer work program for high school youth,
empowers and prepares youth for integration
into the workforce and educates employers to
the potential of the visually impaired. Our
Electronic Library (the first in Israel)
provides online content including newspapers,
magazines and books, which can be read in text
to voice format or Braille. Special workshops
for adolescent girls deal with the specific
challenges of their age group. “Musical Dreams”
offers subsidized music lessons to children and
youth throughout the country; home tutoring
provides extra educational support. The Fund
for Special Equipment subsidizes essential educational and medical equipment.

>> “Ofek Liyladenu is a family of families,
providing every parent with the support and
tools needed to raise independent children that
can integrate into the mainstream of society.
We insure that no one is left alone to cope
with the complex challenges of raising a
visually impaired child in Israeli society.”


  1. Nice! that's great information. The trip seems to be interesting one. Israel is beautiful country for visiting. I was there last year and had a great fun. It was memorable tour.