Sunday, 28 August 2016

Are You Up To Date on Web Accessibility?

Did you know that there is a move to make sure that the disabled population can access websites? It is not enough for them to be able to enter buildings and services that they might require physically. In today's time, when so much information is on the internet, there is a Web Accessibility Initiative WAI to make sure that websites are also accessible. A part of this means that your website is transferable to different devices. This can be PC or laptop or smart phone or tablet. However, the device used to access your website is not the only factor that is important. The type of content you write, how easy it is to understand and various details related to the layout, use of colour and even the template all have a part to play in making sure that your website is accessible to disabled or special needs persons. 

What does this mean? Someone with a visual deficit might have difficulty with identifying colours effectively or in reading print in one colour on the background of another. Colour combination is very important and can make the difference between being able to read and being unable to. Colour is not the only problem, for those who are blind, altering the size of the font or the colour combination will not make any difference. For the blind population special software is required that can turn the written word into audio. For another person, vision might be fine but s/he lacks mobility of his or her arms to be able to use a computer in a normal manner. For someone with motor deficit the method used to use a computer or other device, is also different. This can require use of switches or the mouse in an altered manner through assistive technology. As a result, those of us who have a website need to make sure that it is easy to navigate a website using arrow keys with ease.

There are a number of countries that are working towards web accessibility. The USA is one of them and closer to home, Israel also has some laws in place. In Israel, the laws came into being in 2013 and web owners have been given until October 2016. There are certain leniencies for small business owners. I read an article that stated that small businesses can apply for exemption but in the same breath did not recommend doing so as it can draw attention to your website. To me that was rather confusing. If anyone has an answer on that point, I'd love to hear it. 

On our side, our website is currently built on weebly. I sent a question to weebly's support who was not able to assist with web accessibility. They did suggest doing a google search for any widget that can assist. So far I have not found one. If anyone reading this post knows of a suitable widget, please can you share in the comments below. Otherwise, it might be time to move on from weebly to another platform. We have researching options. So if any readers know of a website building platform that is cost effective and sensitive to website accessibility, please share the information. 

In the meantime, I am busy wading through the Web Accessibility Guidelines. There is a fortune to learn and then to put into practice. Don't be left behind. If you have a website, start now to learn what is required to make sure that your website is accessible.

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist

Monday, 22 August 2016

Beautifying Jerusalem

I was going for a walk in a beautiful park in Jerusalem and noticed over time some of the park benches gradually being beautifies. It's quite a bit of work. Someone has been out and about doing some tapestry type work on the metal park bench. Every one is different and really a lot of fun. 
They look so very happy and lovely to see!

 A few days later, we were out doing errands and took a second look at the sidewalk. There are usually these black metal items that look rather like a row of pawns from a chess set. This row is not the usual black, they have been dressed up. Each with a different hat or head gear.

 Someone has a sense of humour and some time on their hands. 
Either way, it's rather fun to look at and certainly brightens one's day.

 Have you noticed any form of beautifying Yerushalayim in your area? Do let us know or share a pic.

These photographs have been taken by Shoshanah Shear of Shear Success Photographers

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Why I Want to Live in Israel - Guest Post

Those who already live in Israel, know well the Brachah (blessing) of being able to be here. There's just something about it. Well of course... this is the Land that was promised to our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. It entailed an entire story of Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel) having to be taken down to Egypt, then redeemed by Moshe and finally brought through the Wilderness over a 40 year journey until they were taken into the Land itself by Yehoshua the son of Nun. It's where every Jew should be. That was the plan! After hundreds of years of living in the Land, having gone through two Temples lasting 410 and 420 years, we were exiled - and so the history of the Jewish people continued in the diaspora. Our focus must be on getting back into the Land again! It's special - because such has the Creator made it so - and wanted us to be a part of it.

For some, the desire to live here remains a dream. They may lack the financial resources to make it a reality or other reasons may apply. Financial considerations should not have to take away from the opportunity to live here. The world is filled with wealth. Not all organisations who offer assistance are prepared to back those who lack the means, however, to be able to make their wish of living here a reality.

"Welcoming Olim" has shared posts on how to make a success of some of the practical details of living in Israel. In addition, our team are also here for you for the practical day to day activities when you come here. If it's setting up your bank account, your telephone or Internet services, your Bitauch Leumi (national insurance) or Kupat Cholim (medical aid) or any of the other daunting tasks - were happy to assist you practically in getting through these giant hurdles - to begin to be settled here! It's a private service and it's not associated with any of the main organisations. We just believe that we have to do whatever we can to make your wish a reality.

Recently, Benjamin contacted us sharing with us his own dream of coming to live here. His story in his own words is below and we ask you to listen with care and see if you have any ideas of how to help. He has a lot to offer, but it's not always easy to just arrive and get work - if you don't already have something planned from before you arrive. It's also not easy once you're getting on in age - and practically, anything above 30 is already considered a stumbling block if you don't have something planned or someone you know to help make it happen for you.

Benjamin wants to make a success, come to Israel, contribute and live in the Holy Land. He's looking for anyone can help him to obtain work or assist in any financial capacity to allow him the ability to arrive and settle in while looking for work.

If you can help Benjamin or know anybody who can assist, please be in touch with us directly at and we will forward your email on to Benjamin. In short, Benjamin is involved in teaching and writing. He'd like to contribute here in any way he can - so whatever other alternatives may be available will also do just fine!

~ Eliyahu
Co-Director Chessed Ve'Emet

Here's what Benjamin has to say about living in Israel:

Living in Israel will enable me to express myself fully as a Jew. Finding work while also keeping shabbos will be easier. I would work very hard to contribute to the Israeli economy and society. Living in Israel would give me pleasure knowing that I am fulfilling a mitzvah. 

I would like to contribute my knowledge of health to help people overcome maladies. I was a teacher. I love to teach English as a second language.
My integration into Israeli society would be smooth since I am a happy-go-lucky person. 

I would be very proud to be a citizen of the Jewish state. I would be eager and optimistic to wake up every day there. My integration into Israeli society would be smooth because I adapt well to different surroundings.

Rabbi Riskin of Efrat said on YouTube, I forgot it was X-mas. No one was in the office when I called the U.S. Isn't that great? Where else can you wake up in the morning and on the opening broadcast of the day hear Shema Yisroel? 

All of me yearns to live, work and breath the air of Israel. I am a hard worker. I feel I can be an asset to Israel simply by working hard and giving my all to better myself and the state because I learned enough Torah to realize it is my home. 

Living in Israel will be a challenge which I am ready for. I don't expect Israel to be a picnic, but Hashem isn't always easy. When I hear Hatikvah, every word resonates with my fiber. I attended Hebrew school as a child in Jersey Cty, N.J. I learned Torah and only spoke Hebrew for six and a half hours a week. I had a great teacher who was a holocaust survivor. I had only one classmate. Those years implanted in me a great appreciation for Israel. I know enough Torah and history along with experience in life to know Israel is where I belong. 
Israeli culture is different than American culture. That's great! I tend to be eclectic in my desire for socialization. I get along with people from all walks of life. The U.S.A. is a great country for opportunity and freedom; but Israel is where I feel energized and I will contribute energy to support the state.

~ Benjamin


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