The Dr. Reinhard Marcuse Lending Center for the Visually Impaired, established through the generosity of its Swedish benefactor in his name, officially opened on 15 November 2005 in Rishon LeZion in an unusual ceremony.
Linked by telephone communication, Dr. Marcuse delivered his own greetings from the Gothenberg Jewish Community Center, where Bertil and Esther Schonkopf, friends of Yad Sarah in Sweden, were also in attendance, among others. In Israel, the plaque was unveiled by a relative of Dr. Marcuse - Mrs. Judith Kashti. Dr. Marcuse, who is 93 and has become progressively blind over the years, was moved and honored as he welcomed everyone from a distance of 3,400 kilometers.
Regretting that he could not attend the ceremony in Israel, Dr. Marcuse explained that he chose Yad Sarah because of the many beautiful ways they help people and the large number of selfless volunteers. He noted that the visually impaired need various magnifying instruments - from simple glasses to sophisticated electronic devices - to help "nature through human wisdom and technology." He closed with a "Mazel Tov!" to all.
Mr. Bertil Schonkopf, who founded the Swedish Friends of Yad Sarah together with his wife Esther, thanked the Jewish Community of Gothenburg, adding in Hebrew "Shalom and blessing to all!" Dr. Marcuse was presented with a framed certificate from Yad Sarah by Bertil Schonkopf.
Occupational therapist Adinah Fink, who heads the Rishon LeZion branch, addressed the group, speaking about the significance of the new service for the visually impaired population. David Rothner, spokesperson for Yad Sarah, summarized the event playfully in Hebrew: "With an eye to reviewing today's event, we want to thank Dr. Marcuse with whom we certainly see eye to eye on the need for this center. In the eyes of those present and the people we help, this is a welcome addition to Yad Sarah. Today's presentations," he concluded, "have been an eye-opener for all of us, and the new state-of-the art equipment available for loan -- thanks to Dr. Marcuse's wonderful generosity - is a feast for the eyes."
In the background, Mrs Judith Kashti, a cousin of Dr. Marcuse, unveils the plaque in the center bearing the name of Dr. Marcuse. In the foreground, a few of the instruments for loan by the visually impaired, including simple magnifying lens with a light and sophisticated book readers.
Swedish guests summoned at the Gothenburg Community Center. Dr Marcuse seated in front of the flag, center.
Guests at the official unveiling (seated l to r): Mrs. Kashti, Mrs. Maculincer, Mr. Yosi Schonkopf, Mr. Shlomo Loberbom (Yad Sarah), Rachel Ben Gedalya (Yad Sarah, Rishon LeZion branch), Arie Flariyero (Yad Sarah volunteer in the program); (standing at right): Mr. David Rothner (Yad Sarah Spokesperson).
See more photos taken at the two events