Blind Advancement Center Tzfat
|Beit Yael, The Center for the Advancement of the Blind|
|Safed based Educational Center for the Sight Impaired.|
Since the 1970s, Safed has served as a location where sight-impaired individuals can receive services through Beit Yael that allow them to learn to function in society.
 Dr. Yael Ben Dor
Dr. Yael Ben Dor worked as a gynecologist/obstetrician in northern Israel after her escape from Nazi Germany in 1934. After 40 years of service, she began to turn to other interests, including the question of how to integrate youngsters with disabilities into the community.
 Working with the Blind
In her capacity as a physician, Dr. Ben Dor found herself assisting parents whose children were born with Albinism. She showed the parents how to alter the children’s hair and skin coloring so that they didn’t look any different from other children. As part of her work, she gave advice on how to protect their vision. She identified newborns with suspected vision difficulties and pushed for follow-up care. Slowly, Dr. Ben Dor’s interests were channeled into working with vision-impaired individuals of all ages, particularly in teaching them to function in a seeing world and integrating socially into the community at large.
 Center Beginnings
During the early years of the Center’s activities the Center functioned in the Tzfat Bloom Community Center. Dr. Ben Dor imported Braillex machines into Israel to teach blind people to use computers which print out computer documents in Braille. This was the first time that Braillex machines had been used in Israel. She constantly searched for new ways to teach the vision impaired to gain control of their lives in order to live productively and independently.
Emphasis was placed on learning to handle challenges and compete in the job market. Center participants learned to develop skills that would instill self-confidence, provide life-skills and encourage resourcefulness. Dr. Ben Dor wanted to stimulate individuals’ talents and motivate them to strive to achieve their ambitions.
 New Center
In 1985 the Center opened its own facilities on Herzel Street, next to the Bloom Community Center in Safed’s southern neighborhood. People of all ages now come to the Center from throughout Israel for both daily and special residential programs. The program serves people from all regions and all ethnic and economic backgrounds. The program has served thousands of individuals, many of whom are losing their sight and come to the Center to learn to cope.
The Center has residential facilities as well as an institutional kitchen and a gym. Two of the bedrooms are wheelchair-accessible.
In addition to trips and social activities, the center provides yoga and other physical exercises, lectures, discussions on current events, games and handiwork including sewing and painting.