Tyler, age 14, reading from his Braille Haggadah Rochelle, who lost her vision later in life, enjoys JBI Talking Books A young child named Lotem is able to see the printed page thanks to customized lenses created by the team at the JBI Low Vision Clinic in Tel Aviv

Most Frequently Asked Questions

What is JBI?

JBI is an international agency dedicated to providing materials of Jewish and general interest to the visually impaired, blind and reading disabled free of charge.

How does JBI define "Jewish interest"? Do we serve only Jews?

The JBI Library uses the broadest possible interpretation of "Jewish interest" when selecting books. JBI provides access to the world of books to blind and visually impaired people of all ages, faiths, nationalities, and racial and ethnic backgrounds. JBI is an Affiliated Library of the United States Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) and requests for Jewish-related materials in special formats made to NLS are directed to JBI.

What is meant by visually impaired?

"Visually impaired" is legally defined as the status of someone who cannot read standard print even with the help of corrective lenses.

Are there other JBI users?

People with dyslexia and the physically disabled who find it difficult to hold a book, such as sufferers from Parkinson's disease, stroke or crippling arthritis also utilize JBI's materials.

What languages does JBI record in?

JBI records in English, Russian, Spanish, Yiddish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Romanian and Polish.

What's the difference between the Jewish Guild for the Blind and JBI?

JBI is a library and cultural organization, while the Guild is a rehabilitation organization that addresses the medical and adaptive problems of the blind and multi-handicapped.

How does someone join the JBI Library?

The visually impaired or blind person—or a friend or family member acting on his or her behalf—calls us on our toll-free number (1-800-433-1531). JBI's librarians are happy to describe JBI's services and to aid in the easy enrollment process.

JBI is particularly proud to provide a very individualized service. We ask about a new subscriber's special interests and needs and then try to meet these needs in every way possible.

What happens after you become a JBI Subscriber?

If you are a U.S. citizen you become, at the same time, a member of the Library of Congress - National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

JBI arranges for the Library of Congress to send a special, easy to use free tape machine that the user receives within 6 weeks. The machine plays 2 and 4 track tapes. The Library of Congress and JBI are currently preparing for the transition to digital audio players.

Every JBI subscriber may keep each Talking Book for 3 months. It is mailed and may be returned in an easy to use package designed for use by those who are visually impaired. Books are mailed and returned postage free.

The specially adapted tape machine currently used by our subscribers is provided free of charge. Although you may play standard 2 track tapes on our player, you cannot play the audio tapes received from JBI or the Library of Congress on a standard tape player. This reflects concerns about copyright laws and the need to assure that free materials recorded for the visually impaired and blind do not compete with commercial products.

What about magazines?

Magazines do not need to be returned. JBI regularly records the following magazines: Commentary, The Jerusalem Report, Moment, Hadassah and Tikkun. The JBI Voice is a monthly anthology of articles of broad Jewish interest taken from other publications. The JBI Cultural Series offers a lecture, concert or dramatic reading to JBI subscribers each month.

What about liturgical materials and special publications?

Liturgical materials and special publications are given as permanent gifts to those who request them. Liturgical materials such as Haggadot (Both Traditional and Reform Hebrew/English, Hebrew/Russian, Hebrew/Spanish), the Bible and the Yizkor service are regularly available in Large Print, Braille and Audio.

How many JBI subscribers are there?

JBI has over 20,000 users in the United States who are visually impaired, blind or reading disabled. There are an additional 15,000 users in countries all over the world who are either readers or users of JBI's special services. At least 5,000 people a year use JBI's state-of-the-art Low Vision Clinic in Israel.

There is a growing need for JBI services.

Today, 20 per cent of the American Jewish population over 65 must deal with the effects of cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration or some other age related vision problem. A recent study by the National Eye Institute found that more than 4.6 million Americans over 40 are currently visually impaired. The study reports that these numbers are expected to double over the next 30 years as the Baby Boom generation ages.

To learn more about JBI and for further information regarding our services, please feel free to call 1-800-433-1531.

About JBI:
Who We Are and What We Do
Most Frequently Asked Questions
History
Annual Reports and Newsletters
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JBI helps Alan become a Bar Mitzvah
"I love getting books from the JBI Library. I usually request books on a variety of topics to keep it interesting. When I receive a book that my friends have read I like to discuss the book with them. I am very grateful to JBI for helping me to feel connected to the outside world."
–Alana L.,  Los Angeles, CA