Posts Tagged ‘guide dogs’

Dogs Learn Hebrew

Running a marathon is no easy feat. Running it in 3hrs 44mins is pretty good going. Doing so when you’ve lost your sight is amazing, but that’s what Israeli runner, Gadi Yarkoni succeeded in doing.Fifteen years ago, Gadi was serving in the Israeli army in Lebanon when he was wounded in battle and lost his eyesight. Following the incident, Gadi knew he had to regain his freedom and that the only way of doing so was by getting a guide dog. Since then, Gadi has had 3 guide dogs including his current companion, Timmy, a gorgeous black Labrador.Gadi was paired up with Timmy through the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, the first such center in Israel to train dogs in Hebrew. Until then, the only option for Israelis who were blind or visually impaired was to go the U.S. for instruction with an English-speaking canine. For anyone who couldn’t speak English however, this was not an option.The Israel guide-dog center opened in 1991 and has trained 400 dogs in Hebrew. The training period for the dog is long, rigorous and very expensive, costing $25,000 per dog and taking two years to complete.Out of 27,000 registered blind people in Israel, only 250 have guide dogs, although the number is steadily increasing. For Gadi, it has changed his life completely and allowed him to regain the freedom he lost along with his eyesight, enabling him to do things like running a 26 mile marathon to raise money for the guide-dog center.Running alongside Gadi in the New York marathon was Noach Braun, the founder of the Israeli Guide Center who works at the center with his wife Orna. Gadi and Noach were actually tethered together as they ran the grueling course.The guide-dog center has had some high profile support in the past with the prominent British politician and former minister David Blunkett paying a visit in 2007. Blunkett is himself blind and is always accompanied by his own guide dog. Despite his disability, Blunkett rose to high office and was appointed Home Secretary by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Another high profile supporter of the center was the former British Ambassador to Israel, Tom Phillips, who left his post this year. Both Philips and his wife helped train puppies for the center during their time in Israel.Clearly, Ulpan-Or and the Israeli guide-dog center have something in common: teaching Hebrew. It should be noted though that at Ulpan-Or you’ll rarely be told to “fetch” or “sit”. If you’re lucky though we may give you a pat on the head and you might even find a “biscuit” or two coming your way by rapidly gaining fluency in the Hebrew language.The other major difference, besides the number of legs of the two different types of students, is that at Ulpan-Or, learning Hebrew is a much faster process than at the guide-dog center. This is attributable to Ulpan-Or’s unique formula for acquiring the language quickly and the somewhat greater IQ of most of our students!

Members

Member Login

Online Store

Online-Store-tiny eBook-Store-tiny

Contact Us

Tel AvivJerusalemWorldWide