• Issue: December 2001
  • Artist: Igal Gabay
  • Stamp Size: 25.7 mm x 40 mm
  • Plate no.: 455 - no phosphor bar
  • Sheet of 15 stamps Tabs: 5
  • Printers: The House of Questa, England
  • Method of printing: offset and embossing

The Institute for the Blind was founded in the old city of Jerusalem in 1902 by Abraham Moshe Lunz and Nahum Nathanzon as the only institute for the blind in Israel. In 1916 it was transferred from the old city to Monbaz Street near Haneviim Street in the new city. In 1932 it moved to Kiryat Moshe, its present location.

The original building was designed by the British architect Tigert, who created a simple and symmetrical structure that enabled the students free and independent movement. Over the years, two additional structures were added - a school building and most recently a sports center. A beautiful garden surrounds all three buildings.

With the immigration of the 50's, the Institute received scores of students from various countries and played an important role in saving these blind persons. Without the Institute, they would have remained with their families with a slim chance to learn and develop.

The Institute was sensitive to the changing needs of the blind population in a modern society. It changed its traditional policy as a 'maintaining' institute for the blind to one that provides scholastic and social tools which prepare the blind to leave the Institute and integrate into the community.

The individual treatment - up to six or seven pupils to a class, allowed for optimal development of the students, who attained maximum personal achievement. Students who graduated from the Institute became teachers, psychologists, social workers, lawyers, poets, etc.

The educational approach emphasized knowledge on the one hand and art on the other. This combination turned the student into an advanced and rich adult in terms of experience and art, by providing the skills needed to adapt to a society of sighted people.

The sounds emanating from the Institute were not only those of happy children laughing, but also the sounds of piano playing, violins, mandolins, etc.

With time the Institute gained renown within the Israeli society, becoming part of Israel's reality and achievements and contributing to the magical experience of Jerusalem. Residents of Jerusalem have never ceased to be involved in the blind community of the Institute, including people who themselves have gained renown. They have all testified as to their wonderful experiences when visiting theirĀ  blind friends at the Institute.

Presently, the Institute is experiencing a peak in its accomplishments, as it succeeds to combine personal education with maximum fulfillment of the students' talents and abilities in the field of music, sports and interpersonal skills. For example, the Institute has an animal corner, which provides the students with direct contact with various animals and enables the students to learn to care for them. There is a swimming pool at the Institute, which is also open to the general public, as well as workshops for studying carpentry, electricity, and a home-economics program where the students are taught nutritional values, cooking and day-to-day living skills. There is even a student bank that provides the pupils with skills for daily living.

Currently the Institute treats students who, aside from being blind, suffer from additional disabilities. The Institute for the Blind has become a significant factor for adult blind persons residing in Jerusalem as well as those living all over the country through the availability of its sports center as well as providing information that is vital in the development of the blind within their respective community. The goal of the Institute is to educate generations of students who, upon leaving the Institute, are able to take part in the community through supervision and training by the Institute's staff. The vast knowledge and practical experience has made the Institute a source of inspiration for similar institutes the world over and there are many visitors who come to learn from its methods which they implement in their countries.

The Institute for the Blind has taught generations of students who have made their mark on the Israeli society. They remember their stay at the Institute very well and remain deeply attached to the place that provided them with such significant learning and emotional experiences.

From my own eight years experience at the Institute, I can testify of its immeasurable contribution to my development as a poet, as a person who can face the challenges of reality and to my optimistic approach to life and to the country.

Erez Biton
Poet, former chairman of the Hebrew Writers Association and former student of the Institute for the Blind

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Institute for the blind, Jerusalem 1902-2002