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Monday, October 31, 2011

Handicapped Accessible Israel

No doubt that there will be comments complaining that things aren't all that pleasant for the handicapped here.  Of course, nothing's perfect and never will be.  But I do see great improvement here in Israel.

Last week on the newly running Jerusalem lightrail I noticed someone strapping/belting a wheelchair to the wall/side of the train I was in. 

From my first ride I had noticed that there are sections to each car with the handicapped logo.  The seats there have spring hinges, so that they are only "down" for sitting if someone pulls them down.  Otherwise it's the area for baby carriages or wheelchairs.  During my most recent visit to the states, I saw that the Air Train, LIRR and the trains going to Westchester also had them, which helped when we traveled with luggage and a baby stroller. 

Even though the Jerusalem Lightrail provides an extremely smooth ride, I was impressed that there was the safety option of these straps.  Over the years decades I've traveled on public transportation I've seen too many babies slide around and fall in their carriages.

Our local Shiloh synagogue has two entrance ramps.  One to the back which provides wheelchair and baby carriage access to the lower Women's and Men's Sanctuary, and the other is to the front door, where we have our "social hall," which we rent out for events, (up to about one hundred people.)

Decades ago, when we first came to Israel, there wasn't even an elevator at the main Jerusalem clinic of our health fund, and you needed to climb stairs to see doctors or get x-rayed.  It is already forty-one years since our aliyah to Israel, and there really has been great improvement in so many different fields.


Lady-Light said...

I am much more aware these days of handicapped-access places and the need for them, because of my daughter's situation. I never thought (who does?) that I'd ever need these services, but it is what it is. Israel is generally way behind the States in negishut, but as you said in this important post, improvements are being made, as Israel is becoming more and more aware of this need.

It was very tough to find a handicap-accessible apt. for my daughter, but incredibly, she managed to find one about 1.8 kilometers from her hospital, which she was released from this past Sunday.

She was intending to wheel herself to the hospital several times a week for therapies on an outpatient basis, so she bought a new, very good sports wheelchair. As far as I'm aware, she hasn't even had the time to go yet. Will be writing about her updated situation soon, I hope...

Batya said...

LL, yes, most of us don't realize the necesity of handicapped accessibility until we or a loved one needs it. I'm glad your daughter is making progress. Refuah shleimah!

The Real Jerusalem Streets said...

At the Ramban shul a few weeks ago on Shabat, they used a special ramp for a man in a wheel chair to get an aliyah for his birthday. I have been away, but really wanted to get photos to share of the ramp and its use, a very rare sight in Jerusalem, Israel, perhaps the world.

Batya said...

Sharon, I'm pretty sure that recently an old man living with his kids has been taken up in his wheelchair. I'll send this to my husband for confirmation.

YMedad said...

This is the confirming husband. Although our synagogue does not have a special ramp at the bimah itself, we do have at least two elderly gentlemen, fathers of members, who are regulalry given aliyot and are lifted up while in their wheelchairs to the shulchan (father of Avishai and father of Avital). We do not have enough room a ramp although, as my wife pointed out, last year's rennovation included a ramp for both wheelchairs and infant strollers.

Batya said...

Thanks, I consider our shul extremely handicapped accessible compared to others. There are also WC's on all floors.