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JNF Shares the Beauty of Nature with the Visually Impaired

Contact: Sarit Schonbrun • JNF Communications Manager • 212-879-9305 ext. 222 •

February 22, 2006 — On a bridge over Hashofet stream deep in Ramat Menashe Park, a group stood in silence, listening to the sound of flowing water.  Throughout the day, their tour guide had the unique task of making the forest’s beauty come alive for those who could not see it.

This Tu B’Shevat, participants from the Haifa Association for the Visually Impaired experienced the sounds and scents of Israel's Ramat Menashe Park on a hike coordinated by Jewish National Fund- Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael. On an hour-long walk, they smelled various herbs, learned about different species of trees by touching their twigs, and listened closely as their guide described the splendor of the 84,000-dunam JNF-KKL park. The group hiked along a trail specially designed for people with disabilities-- a common feature in JNF-KKL's parks and forests today. 

“For us, getting out, particularly going to a stream and a forest is very, very special,” said Moshe Goldstein, one of the participants. “We are dependent on other people for mobility, so there is no way we could visit Nahal Hashofet without help.  I really appreciate JNF-KKL for arranging this.”

After the hike, each participant planted a sapling at the JNF-KKL Tzipori Field Center, the first Tu B'Shevat tree planting for many Russian immigrants in the group.  “We decided to give a name to this plot,” said Lilach, a participant who led the group in song throughout the hike.  “Originally, we thought of ‘Blind People’s Grove’ but then we chose ‘Grove of Light’ expressing so beautifully exactly what we feel.”

The day concluded with a traditional Tu B’Shevat Seder where participants had dried fruits, olives and grape juice and learned about the historical and agricultural significance of Tu B’Shevat.   

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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