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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Producing CDs and Chessed Hamodia Junior February 8

Producing CDs and Chessed
By Debbie Shapiro

Can you imagine living in a factory? Well, meet Tzvi and Elisheva Vindler. Their factory, Remez productions, duplicates discs, is operated from their three room apartment. All day long, the machines are producing discs in the spare bedroom while workers are busy packaging the discs on the dining room table.

Mr. Vindler, why do you run your factory from your home?

That's a good question! We do it for our workers, so that they'll feel comfortable and at home while on the job. All our workers have special needs. They have trouble doing many of the things that we take for granted. Only one of our workers can count, for example, and most of them do not understand the meaning of money. Since they work in a home, if they're tired of working they can go into the kitchen and help my wife with the cooking – and learn important life skills at the same time – or even lie down in the bedroom and take a nap.

"Even though we pay our workers a regular salary, we're really a rehabilitation center. I work hard at teaching our boys life skills. It takes a lot of patience to show them how to buy something in the store. They have to be taught how to get to the store, find the proper product, pay for it, take their change and return home without losing anything, or getting lost themselves. Although they find it difficult – for most of them, it's the first time they've ever been given any responsibility – when they are successful, they are so very proud of their accomplishments!"

How did you get involved with people with special needs?

"Before I opened Remez Productions, I had a worked for a computer company, delivering and installing computer parts. Then I hurt my leg at a wedding and wasn't able to carry heavy things. So my boss hired a mentally disabled young man to carry things for me me. I really enjoyed working with him, and was able to teach him many important life skills, such as how to count and how to cash a check. He soon became part of my family, so when I opened Remez Productions, he continued working for me.

Today, we have six young men working here. Each of them is unique. Shlomo, for example, talks to himself. [I'll either use a pseudonym, or if it's ok with the parents, I'll use their real names. tell me a litte about each of the workers, including name, problem and what type of work they are capable of doing --- Jack lives just down the block, but he gets lost walking to the factory, so someone has to accompany him. He can, however, paste labels on the CDs, a job that requires a lot of attention to detail. ???? can't tie a knot, but he can???? . We taught ???? how to burn CDs, a job that requires a lot of skill and WHAT ELSE? We were all so proud of him, and he was so proud of himself!

The boys have other challenges too. They have to be kept constantly busy, so if we don't have work for them in the factory, we keep them occupied cutting vegetables or sweeping the floors. Erev Pesach, one boy even cleaned the stove and refrigerator! NAME is constantly washing his hands, while NAME speaks to himself throughout the day. Each boy is different. They have unique personalities, and individual strengths and weaknesses – but then again, doesn't everyone?

When did you open Remez Productions?

About five years ago. A friend of mine needed a lot of discs duplicated, but couldn't find anyone to do it, so he asked me if I'd take on the project.  At first, we duplicated the discs on several computers, but that was REALLY time consuming. Then, I built a tower of twenty duplicating machines. Today, we three towers with a total of sixty duplicating machines.

Very often, the discs need a lot of editing before they can be duplicated. A disc of a school play, for example might be a combination of three different videos; that way we put in the good shots, and leave out all the bloopers. COULD YOU TELL ME A GOOD STORY ABOUT THAT – FOR EXAMPLE THE GIRL BLOWING HER NOSE ON STAGE, WHICH YOU REMOVED, OR SOMETHING SIMILAR! Sometimes the audio quality is not so great, so I fix that with the computer, or I do special effects, such as adding an echo or combining voices. It takes a lot of skill and patience to make a topnotch product.

Once the disc is ready, we start duplicating them on our towers. Have you ever burnt a disc on your home computer? Well, that's what we do when we duplicate discs here in our factory, but instead of burning just one disc, we burn anywhere from fifty to five thousand! We have three towers of disc duplicating machines, and each tower consists of twenty machines, so we have a total of sixty duplicating machines. It takes a lot of skill and patience to duplicate the discs properly, so either my wife, Mrs. Vindler, or NAME OF WORKER does it. They place an empty disc into each machine, close the machine, and two minutes later, when the discs have been duplicated, they remove each individual disc and place them on the table, for our workers to take into the living room where they will label and package them. Sometimes, if we have a large order, Mrs. Vindler or NAME will spend a full eight hours duplicating discs! It's a lot of work, but they enjoy doing it because they know that afterwards people will enjoy watching or listening to the CDs.

One of our workers brings the finished discs to the living room, where our workers carefully place the labels on the discs. Working with each customer, I design the labels and then print them on special adhesive paper, so that all our workers have to do is peel back the paper and place the label on the disc. We always have a tape going, and our supervisor NAME is there with the boys to make sure that they do the work properly. It takes skill to stick the labels on. First, the labels have to be carefully removed from the paper, then they have to be put on the disc smoothly, and not bunched up. If the boys place the sticker on the wrong side of the disc, the disc becomes unusable. It sounds pretty uncomplicated, but our workers are disabled, and it took a lot of patience to teach them these skills.

While some of our workers are placing labels on the discs, other workers are packaging them, either in clear plastic casings or in small plastic bags. Here, the boys are taught how to hold and package the disc without damaging it. Did you notice that our dining room table is covered with a special felt (???) cloth? That's to prevent the discs from getting scratched.

Now that the discs are labeled and packaged, we just have to pack them in boxes or plastic bags and deliver them to the customer. Many different types of people use our service; from rabbis, to kiruv organizations to all the seminaries in Jerusalem. Even the police and the Jerusalem Municipality come to us to duplicate discs. It's wonderful to be able to help so many people with our work: our customers, the people who listen to the discs, and our workers.

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