A few years ago, while on an annual charity bike ride in Israel, Allen asked me to visit Nalaga'at in Yafo near Tel Aviv. Nalaga'at is an organization that employs blind, deaf and speech deprived people in two restaurants and a live theatre. The waiters in one restaurant are blind and dinner is served in total darkness. The waiters in the lighted restaurant are deaf. The actors are deaf and blind, often because of a genetic disorder called Usher syndrome, which results in acute deafness at birth, followed by gradual loss of vision. As a result, most are non-verbal, communicating only through touch. Yet they still manage to make extraordinary theatre. He remarked, "visit, you will be my eyes and ears."
I visited and caught the tail end of a show presented in the theatre entitled "Not By Bread Alone" followed by dinner in the lighted theatre with the executive director, Adina Tal. The show is internationally acclaimed and recently played in London. It was a defining moment for me and I highly recommend it for all.
By the way - Allen built that theatre and participated in many other philanthropic endeavors - all very quietly, without fanfare. That was the Allen I knew and admired. While I mourn his loss, I celebrate his life of achievement and generosity.