Anonymous STL donor supports JNF accessibility project

Supported by JNF-USA, LOTEM helps people with disabilities experience nature throughout Israel. Here, a group explores Jerusalem’s surrounding parks.

ELLEN FUTTERMAN, Editor-in-Chief

A generous St. Louis donor who wishes to remain anonymous is helping to fund technology that will create an interactive, accessible and autonomous experience for visitors with visual impairments at many of Israel’s museums. 

With support for the St. Louis Jewish community, and for the Jewish National Fund – USA’s (JNF-USA) affiliate in Israel, LOTEM: Making Israel Accessible, this donation is one of the most significant investments the donor has made in service of normalizing and improving life for Israel’s disabled. 

“We want to enable independence for people with disabilities; to provide them with the same ability to become immersed in a museum and enjoy it at their own pace,” the donor said in a statement. “When we create a more inclusive society, everybody wins, everybody’s quality of life increases, and we all benefit.” 

Launching at 10 major museums to start, the project allows for visually impaired museum visitors to access exhibit films through the use of a portable, wireless audio set, synchronized by sensors, which allow the verbal description to be activated automatically. This allows the visitor to experience the movie completely and independently alongside their family and friends. 

Speaking of the donor, Kim Levy, JNF-USA’s director, Midwest, said, “This person is a pillar of the community who is deeply devoted to Israel, intensely committed to equality, and fiercely passionate about innovative solutions that normalize lives.”