Local blind students raise money for school in Israel

Thanks to one passionate teacher, students at the California School for the Blind in Fremont are forging connections with their counterparts at Keren Or, a school in Jerusalem for blind children with disabilities.

Alysa Chadow, a Hayward resident and a member of Temple Sinai in Oakland, is a teacher at CSB who has worked in special education for 25 years.

For the past two years, she has staged a “game-a-thon” in which her teen students play versions of board and card games — such as Bingo and Uno — that have been adapted for the vision-impaired. The most recent game-a-thon occurred a few weeks ago during Jewish Disability Awareness Month.

The kids who play ask others to sponsor them with pledges, and all of the money raised goes to Keren Or, which Chadow calls “a very important place.” The school operates a day center for adults as well as comprehensive education and physical therapy facilities for youth with a range of disabilities, in addition to vision impairment.

“It’s the only school in Israel I’m aware of that’s serving children who are blind and have other impairments … and it’s a very small operation,” said Chadow, who sent out postcards featuring information about the school as her Purim greeting. “I think this is just a good way to get the world out to people who don’t know anything about the school, and to people who might not know anything about blindness.”

Chadow has taken the fundraising efforts school-wide and community-wide, and is accepting donations through the end of March. For more information, email achadow@sbcglobal.net. — emma silvers

Emma Silvers