digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Hebrew Braille
Hebrew Braille chart.jpg
Languages Hebrew
Parent systems
Print basis
Hebrew alphabet

Hebrew Braille is the braille alphabet for Hebrew. The International Hebrew Braille Code is widely used. It was devised in the 1930s and completed in 1944. It is based on international norms, with additional letters devised to accommodate differences between English Braille and the Hebrew alphabet.[1] Unlike Hebrew, but in keeping with other braille alphabets, Hebrew Braille is read from left to right.[2]


Prior to the 1930s, there were several regional variations of Hebrew Braille, but no universal system.[1] In 1936, the Jewish Braille Institute of America assembled an international panel to attempt to produce a unified code. Among the greater challenges faced by the panel was the accommodation of the Hebrew vowel points. The panel completed its first iteration of the International Hebrew Braille Code in 1936,[1] the same year in which the first Hebrew Braille book was published with sponsorship from the Library of Congress: a volume of excerpts from the Talmud and other sources.[3] The code underwent further refinements for the better part of a decade until its completion in 1944.[1]

Basic alphabet[edit]

Because Hebrew Braille derives from English Braille, there is not a one-to-one match between Hebrew letters in print and in braille. Most obviously, four consonants with the dagesh point in print have distinct letters in braille, but three others require a dagesh prefix in braille. The different placements of the dot on the print letter shin also correspond to two different letters in braille. On the other hand, the distinct final forms of some letters in print are not reflected in braille.

In the table below, the braille letters corresponding to basic letters in print are in the top row, while those derived by pointing in print, and which have a distinct pronunciation in Modern Hebrew, are in the second row.

Basic Braille ⠁ (braille pattern dots-1) ⠧ (braille pattern dots-1236) ⠛ (braille pattern dots-1245) ⠙ (braille pattern dots-145) ⠓ (braille pattern dots-125) ⠺ (braille pattern dots-2456) ⠵ (braille pattern dots-1356) ⠭ (braille pattern dots-1346) ⠞ (braille pattern dots-2345) ⠚ (braille pattern dots-245) ⠡ (braille pattern dots-16) ⠇ (braille pattern dots-123) ⠍ (braille pattern dots-134) ⠝ (braille pattern dots-1345) ⠎ (braille pattern dots-234) ⠫ (braille pattern dots-1246) ⠋ (braille pattern dots-124) ⠮ (braille pattern dots-2346) ⠟ (braille pattern dots-12345) ⠗ (braille pattern dots-1235) ⠩ (braille pattern dots-146) ⠹ (braille pattern dots-1456)
Print א ב v ג g ד dh ה h ו w ז z ח ט י y כ ך kh ל l מ ם m נ ן n ס s ע פ ף f צ ץ ts ק q ר r ש שׁ sh ת th
Dagesh Braille ⠃ (braille pattern dots-12) ⠬ (braille pattern dots-346) ⠅ (braille pattern dots-13) ⠏ (braille pattern dots-1234) ⠱ (braille pattern dots-156) ⠳ (braille pattern dots-1256)
Print בּ b
וּ û
כּ ךּ k
פּ p
שׂ ś
תּ t

For other pointed print consonants, such as gimel with dagesh גּ, the braille prefix is used: . Historically, this sequence has two values: a 'hard' gee [ɡ] (cf. plain gimel [ɣ]), and a double/long gee [ɡː]. However, it is not distinct in Modern Hebrew. It is not clear if the prefix can be added to letters that have partners in the bottom row of the table above to distinguish, say, dagesh hazak kk from dagesh kal k, or ww from û.

When transcribing completely unpointed print texts, only the top row of braille letters is used.

Vowel pointing[edit]

Apart from those written with ו and י and thus obligatory in print, vowels are optional in braille just as they are in print. When they are written, braille vowels are full letters rather than diacritics.

Braille ⠁ (braille pattern dots-1) ⠊ (braille pattern dots-24) ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34) ⠑ (braille pattern dots-15) ⠉ (braille pattern dots-14) ⠣ (braille pattern dots-126) ⠪ (braille pattern dots-246) ⠥ (braille pattern dots-136)
Print א â ◌ִ i ◌ֵ e ◌ֶ ◌ַ a ◌ָ ◌ֹ o ◌ֻ u
Braille ⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠔ (braille pattern dots-35) ⠌ (braille pattern dots-34) ⠽ (braille pattern dots-13456) ⠢ (braille pattern dots-26) ⠒ (braille pattern dots-25) ⠜ (braille pattern dots-345) ⠕ (braille pattern dots-135) ⠬ (braille pattern dots-346)
Print ◌ְ ə ◌ִי î ◌ֵי ê ◌ֱ ĕ ◌ֲ ă ◌ֳ ŏ וֹ ô וּ û

Print digraphs with אְ schwa (אֱ ĕ, אֲ ă, אֳ ŏ, bottom row), and the matres lectionis (וּ û, וֹ ô, יִ î) are derived in braille by modifying (lowering or reflecting) the base vowel. יֵ ê does not have a dedicated braille letter, and is written as the vowel e plus yod.


The punctuation used with Hebrew Braille, according to Unesco (2013), is as follows:

⠂ (braille pattern dots-2)
⠄ (braille pattern dots-3)
⠆ (braille pattern dots-23)
⠒ (braille pattern dots-25)
⠲ (braille pattern dots-256)
⠖ (braille pattern dots-235)
⠦ (braille pattern dots-236)
⠴ (braille pattern dots-356)
⠤ (braille pattern dots-36)
⠌ (braille pattern dots-34)
⠔ (braille pattern dots-35) ⠔ (braille pattern dots-35)
⠶ (braille pattern dots-2356) ⠀ (braille pattern blank) ⠶ (braille pattern dots-2356)
(   ...   )
⠠ (braille pattern dots-6) ⠶ (braille pattern dots-2356) ⠀ (braille pattern blank) ⠶ (braille pattern dots-2356) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3)
[   ...   ]
⠤ (braille pattern dots-36) ⠤ (braille pattern dots-36)
⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3) ⠄ (braille pattern dots-3)


  1. ^ a b c d Okin, Tessie (August 15, 1952). "I Shall Light a Candle". Canadian Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved October 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ Mackenzie, Clutha Nantes; Sir Clutha Nantes Mackenzie (1954). World Braille Usage: a survey of efforts towards uniformity of braille notation. UNESCO. 
  3. ^ Blumenthal, Walter Hart (1969). Bookmen's Bedlam: an Olio of Literary Oddities. Ayer Publishing. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-8369-1022-3. 
  4. ^ Placed here for convenience only; not actually a letter with dagesh

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Braille — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

3 news items

The Jewish Week (blog)

The Jewish Week (blog)
Tue, 22 Sep 2015 04:37:09 -0700

My father's Jewish education was limited, but he himself taught Hebrew Braille first to a blind girl in the next town and then to me. My parents worked with my Hebrew School teachers and the Jewish Braille Institute (now JBI International) to insure ...

Tablet Magazine

Tablet Magazine
Mon, 22 Apr 2013 21:11:42 -0700

Diane Lipman, a volunteer at JBI International, records an audiobook in the center's state of the art recording facilities. (Tracy Levy). Yael Korc, age 10 and a half, has been blind since birth. Retinopathy of prematurity robbed her of sight, but her ...


Tue, 10 Dec 2013 10:16:12 -0800

The Nemeth Code for Braille. Nemeth was educated at the New York Jewish Guild for the Blind in Yonkers. Since there was then no Hebrew Braille, he learnt Biblical and Talmudic lore by listening to his grandfather read aloud. After graduation he was ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight