According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a ‘healthy city’ is one whose government puts health high on its agenda. The goal of the WHO Healthy Cities Network is to help cities develop and promote a comprehensive and systematic policy with special emphasis on the needs of vulnerable groups. In 2008, the City of Be’er-Sheva became a member of this international network. The following are only some examples of what exists in Be’er-Sheva to serve the needs of its special citizens.
Special physical needs
Some special associations:
Beershevan musician Rotem Kornfeld (b.2001-), whose parents work with disabled children at Kefar Refa’el, got his high-school education in the 1st anthroposophical school in the Negev (“Neta Erez Yanuch Korczak”), in Beer-Sheva, studied violin at the local Conservatorium, and completed the local, municipal young social leadership training course “LEAD”—founded (2020-) “Tsliley Musikah” [“The Sounds of Music”] to teach and make music with young people (10-21) with & without special needs together.
The office of the Be’er-Sheva Association for the Blind/Visually-Impaired “Sheshet” (founded 1956, by Peninah Amir) is located in the Blind Culture House at the corner of Sha’ul ha-Melekh & Mivsta Yo’av streets – 08-6435976.
“Tigbur” (lit., reinforcement) is an employment agency that helps place disabled adults in appropriate jobs – 08-6280704.
The Organization for the Disabled and Widows of Victims of Work Accidents in the South is a NPO run by volunteers who assist disabled civilians and work-widows with their problems. It is headed by Be’er-Sheva resident and City Council member Yossi Dadush (b.1955-), who is also the Chairman of the Israel National Association of Work-Accident Disabilities – 050-5394723.
Special handicapped driving systems may be installed into vehicles, for example, by “Titkadem le-Taman” is located in the Kiryat Yehudit Industrial Park, 1 Totseret ha-Arets St. (inside the Schroder complex) – 08-6655044, http://www.tmn.co.il.
Some special facilities and activities:
In 2021, at the “Dekalim” School for Special Education, veteran music teacher, Zhana Mikhailov, created a successful choir, with the support of the local chapter of “Lions – Israel: Ahvah ba-Negev.” The members of the choir range in age from 13-21. Music is a perfect and joyful way to overcome disabilities.
Shai Grinberg (b.1996-), a professional dancer from Be’er-Sheva, founded the “Latados Dance Academy” for ballroom dancing. He also offers special therapeutic classes for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease.
“Ogen Kehilati” (lit., community anchor, founded 2006), run by the “Yahdav”(lit. together) Organization and sponsored by the Rashi Foundation, is a youth village situated within a Be’er-Sheva residential neighborhood that serves as a residence for some 700 at-risk youths and also as an educational center for their families.
The Southern Deaf/Hearing Impaired Multi-Service Center is located in the Aleph Neighborhood at 10 Kaplan St., between Kaplan Square and SCE. It provides treatment, rehabilitation and family counseling to the entire southern region of Israel, as well as recreational, sports and cultural activities.
Since 2017, “ELIYA” – the national Organization for the Advancement of Blind/Visually-Impaired Children) has been running a new, special preschool and kindergarten rehabilitation center for blind/visually-impaired infants and children (ages 6 mos.-6 yrs.), located at 4 Amos Yarkoni St. in the new Vav neighborhood, with a special facility called “The Junk Yard” that provides guided experiential sensory-motor learning and independent ‘trial & error’ learning for children from the entire Negev Region – 08-6270971.
The Ilan Center for severely disabled children is located in the Ramot neighborhood at 15-19 ha-Mada St. – 050-5620202.
“Merkaz Sport ha-Peninah” (founded by Peninah Amir) is a special gym that serves people with all manner of physical disabilities, provides rehabilitative training, and a variety of regular sports clubs and events, also for the blind/visually-impaired and the deaf. Annual ping-pong tournaments for the deaf are held, sponsored by the Municipal Sports Dept.
The Meyerhoff Culture Center for the Blind (a.k.a. the “Blind House,“ founded 1998), located at the corner of Sha’ul ha-Melekh & Mivsta Yo’av streets, is the main center for social, cultural & sports clubs and events for the local blind/visually-impaired – 08-6435976. It also has a library of audio books that may be heard. Georgina (“Gina”) Meyer-Dullmann introduced successful art and dance activities for the blind/visually impaired. This facility is also used by the “Nur (lit., light) Association” to serve the blind/sight-impaired Bedouin in the Negev Region – 050-2296772.
“Sheshet” (as a branch of “ELIYA” – the national Organization for the Advancement of Blind/Visually-Impaired Children) runs a habitative residence for blind/visually-impaired at 21 Havatselet ha-Negev St. in the Neveh Noy neighborhood – 08-6233460.
“Sheshet” also runs a special ‘sheltered’, rehabilitative workplace for the blind/visually-impaired, located at 113 Sha’ul ha-Melekh St. – 08-6468426.
Special therapeutic exercise classes for sufferers of fibromyalgia are given by Varda Tsizer-Korelstein – 052-2709300.
Wheelchair basketball is played at high-schools “Makif Alef” in the Gimel neighborhood and “Makif Rager” in Neveh Ze’ev, and at the “Veterans’ Home” at 9 Bents Carmel Ave. in the Ramot neighborhood. Wheelchair Israeli folk-dancing exists at the Ramot High-School.
Every Spring, ca.700 physically-disabled children come from the entire Negev Region to Kaye Regional Teachers’ College to enjoy a Special Sports Day. Kaye College also offers special exercise classes for diabetic and obese children – 08-6402720.
“Shufersal Deal” supermarket set an example by making their facility wheel-chair accessible and even providing a special check-out counter for the disabled.
Some special equipment:
“Yad Sarah” (founded 1975) is a volunteer organization that rents/sells medical and nursing equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, bedguards, bedpans, etc.) at low cost on demand. It has two branches–one situated in the Jusidman House at 2 Sha’ul ha-Melekh St. and the other on the groundfloor of the Soroka Medical Center complex, Medical Services Bldg. – 08-9112000, 08-6450747, and at http://www.yadsarah.org Open: 10:00-15:00.
A large variety of special equipment and products (e.g. wheelchairs, adult diapers, etc.) may also be ordered for disabled or elderly people (with home delivery) from “Liberty” suppliers, located at 106 Herzl St. – 1-700-70-22-70 Open: 10:00-14:00.
Many classrooms in Be’er-Sheva have been specially equipped for hearing-disabled pupils. All public facilities in Israel are supposed to be wheelchair accessible by law.
Some special clothing:
People who suffer from sensitive skin or who are allergic to various synthetic materials can find natural, organic cotton clothing locally at “Cotton” clothing store at 91 Herzl St. in the Old City.
Some special shoes:
People who suffer from various foot troubles can get orthopedic shoes or individually-crafted insoles in a number of stores, some situated in the Government Mall, such as “Medent” or “Ofir Medical.”
Special intellectual or communication needs
Some special associations:
AKIM Be’er-Sheva (founded 1985) is an association for the habilitation of the intellectually challenged, located at 27 Herzl St. in the Old City – 08-6231190. The “Yahdav” (lit. together) Project, for those over the age of 18, prepares such people for employment; the “Lev” (lit. heart) Project is for those over the age of 21, to help them become self-sufficient & autonomous.
“ALUT” – The Israel Society for Children and Adults with Autism (founded 1974) is active in many educational and habilitative facilities in Be’er-Sheva – to volunteer: *9093; for help: 03-5718190, alut.org.il.
The Ami Association for the Care of People with Developmental Intellectual Disabilities is located in the Old City at 49 ha-Atsma’ut St. – 086409757.
“Yachdav”Association (Be’er-Sheva) for intellectually challenged adults is located at 1 Max Binett St. in Gimel neighborhood – 08-6209935.
Some special facilities:
“Keshet Elementary School for Autistic Children” – run by the Shulamit Society (NPO). Contact: Shirah – 050-8884479; email@example.com, in Old City, Hadassah 49.
“Beit Homa” – Community of Negev Artists is located in Gimel neighborhood at Arlozorov 50. It is an art studio & gallery that focuses on the interface of art and mental health–the power of art as expression and therapy. They also sponsor exhibits of art by artists from the “Yozmah” (“Initiative”) Program. “Homa“ is run by Yogev Vanunu, Shahar Knafo, Ronen Mars, Liron Yifrah & Aviran Moyal.
Kaye College hosts the “Mikhlala Hevratit” (lit., the social college; founded ca.2014) that offers three courses of study for adult special intellectual or communication needs students: social; artistic; or professional. Each special student is personally accompanied by a mentor and the professional course is tailored to suit each individual special-needs student. Classes are held twice a week – Dr. Nitzan Cohen 054-4909128.
“Kfar Irusim” (lit., village of irises; founded 2009) is a hostel, school, habilitative and social center for adults with autism, run by “ALUT” – The Israel Society for Children and Adults with Autism, with the assistance of volunteers from NPO “ha-Ru’ah ha-Tovah” (lit., the good wind/spirit). It provides housing, employment, individual mentoring & sociocultural activities, as well as lectures for volunteers and family members. It’s located in the Ne’ot Lon neighborhood at 20 Ilan Ramon Way and has an additional facility at 25 Zalman Aranne St. in Yud Aleph – 08-6214566; Yuval 050-6514243; *9093.
The “Ma’as” Occupational Therapy Project for intellectually challenged adults is run by the “Yachdav” Association (Be’er-Sheva). The handicrafts/items produced by the Jews and Bedouins in this rehabilitative workshop are sold and offset the costs of their rehabilitation. This occupational rehabilitation center is located at 1 Max Binett St. in Gimel neighborhood – 08-6209935.
Tigbur” is an employment agency that helps place intellectually challenged adults in appropriate jobs – 08-6280704.
AKIM Be’er-Sheva oversees 4 schools for people (aged 3-21) with developmental/intellectual disabilities and 4 afternoon leisure clubs that provide sports, art, dance, theater and other activities – 08-6231190.
The (Leonard) Cohen House of the Ami Association provides sheltered housing for intellectually challenged adults (aged ca.20-ca.75) in the Gimel neighborhood, under the direction of Ety Ya’akov – 08-6651661.
Special psychological needs
Some special associations:
“Enosh,” – the Israeli Association for Mental Health offers help and rehabilitation for the psychologically challenged at its Be’er-Sheva branch, Enosh House (founded in 1989), located at 16 David Ben-Gurion Blvd. See: https://bit.ly/3DitfW6 or contact: Rita Roizman, 054-9299506, or via: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NPO, “Rakefet” helps people to cope who have been traumatized by the COVID-19 pandemic or who suffer from social anxiety or extreme shyness. This association is directed by Avner Dafni (its founder, b.1973-) and has 4 separate therapy groups for: children, teenagers, young people & adults. 077-2017032 and https://www.rakefet-group.org.il.
The Association for Equality and Justice for the Disabled, headed by Dalia Zilberman, trains disabled people to serve as advisors to others who are also disabled, to instruct them regarding their rights and to empower them – 28A Yosef Ben-Matityahu St., 08-6483456.
ERAN – Emotional First Aid by Telephone & Internet, 24/7 – dial 1201:
- Hotline for Holocaust Survivors & Families call 1-800-24-1201.
- Hotline for Soldiers, Veterans & Their Families call *2201.
- Internet Hotlines go to the Hebrew website www.eran.org.il.
- Hotline for the Elderly call *3201.
- Russian Language Hotline call 1201 ext. 3.
- Arabic Language Hotline call 1201 ext. 2 (12:00 – 20:00).
Alcoholism – Alcoholics who want to join discrete, local Alcoholics Anonymous support groups can contact either Ya’akov at 052-4088742 or Elinor at 052-4735219 for information.
The Municipal Center for the Treatment & Rehabilitation of Alcoholics and Compulsive Gamblers may be reached via 08-6206582 or email@example.com.
Drug Addiction – The Municipal Center for the Treatment & Rehabilitation of Drug Abusers – “Merkaz Hosen” may be reached via 08-6236198 or Hosen1@br7.org.il.
Some special facilities
The Society for the Prevention of Cancer provides guidance & moral support to cancer patients and their families in “Edy’s House – Ma’agan“ (founded 1999) at 13 Har Beka St. in the Ramot neighborhood – 08-6490802.
A privately endowed hostel and rehabilitation center helps chronic schizophrenics (aged 25-69). They’re taught arts & crafts and their works are sometimes exhibited at the “Avivim Gallery” in the “BIG” commercial center.
Special dietary needs and support
Gluten-free foods; sugar-free foods; and lactose-free products are available: at “Be’er-Teva” in the Mall ha-Keshatot (lit., the Mall of the Arches, situated in the Leonardo Hotel) – 08-6285898; “Eden Teva Market” at 21 Derekh Hevron – 1-800-468-468; “Tavline Maimon” in “BIG” – 08-6288218; and “Rotem” Natural Products on Rambam St. in the Old City – 08-6278006; as well as in special sections of most supermarkets.
Those who need professional help to overcome obesity can turn to their specific HMO’s nutritionists or to the discrete, local “Weight-Watchers” (Heb., Shomre Mishkal) groups that meet at 3 different locations and at various days and times – *2480.
Some special facilities:
There are many vegetarian and some vegan restaurants and eateries around the city (several certified kosher; a few with ‘take-away’), and also a number of health food bars; they may easily be located via the Internet (by searching in either Hebrew or English).
Special bioenergetic or spiritual needs – mind & body alligned
To learn or become a practitioner:
Those who wish to study alternative medicine may do so at the Reidman College for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (e.g., natural nutrition, phytotherapy, holistic psychotherapy, reiki energy healing, zen-shiatsu, ayurvedic medicine, etc.), located at the Bet Yatsiv/Open Uinversity Campus in the Old City – 08-6237451, http://www.reidman.co.il. Holistic medicine (e.g., Thai massage, Chinese & herbal medicine, guided inagination, naturopathy, etc.) is taught at the Adar College for Natual Holistic Medicine, located at Kaye Teachers’ College – 1-800-303090, http://www.adar-college.org,
Some special treatment centers:
Those who seek unconventional/alternative psycho-physical/spiritual support or therapy can turn to the alternative medical clinics of their HMOs that offer therapeutic massages, reflexology, shiatsu, tui-na, acupucture, aroma therapy, and more. Be’er-Sheva also has a number of centers that offer: spiritual development via the study of mysticism, ancient wisdom, movement therapy (Merkaz ha-Or, lit., the center of light, at 96 Hadassah St. in the Old City – http://www.merkaz-haor.co.il); individualized therapy sessions, yoga for pregnant women, yoga for parents & children, holistic PT, hydrotherapy, Indian sauna, etc. (“Ma’or” Center for Personal Development – Ariel 052-6303842; Anna 054-5931945, http://www.maor4u.co.il); and others. Moreover, there are spas, like: “Mateh Midbar” at 22 ha-Histadrut St. – 08-6233370 and the New Olympus Spa at 10 Henry Kendall St.077-4260001, http://www.o-spa.co.il.
Some special therapists & practitioners:
The city also has a wide range of private unconventional/alternative therapists and practitioners, such as the following examples, who apply: Mediation & deeksha yoga (Yuval – 054-4798865 & Ravit – 054-4965597, http://www.deekshayoga.co.il); Chinese astrology & feng shui (Alia Kantor – 054-8010377); laughter yoga (Debbie Iancu – 054-6400043); falun gong/falun dafa (Nataly – 054-6330342 or Dina Gordon – 052-5549966, http://www.falundafa.org.il); tai chi (David Kafri – 050-2024596); reiki – the healing touch (Yaniv Bruder – 050-3399453); sujuk – treatment of palms of hands (Dolev Smile Center, 4/1 Asirey Tsiyon St., 08-6236991); healing hands (Uri’el Garon – 052-6711407); chirology & palmistry (Elah Tadmor – 052-3371348); numerology (Shuki Gabay – 054-3055570); psychographology (Batyah Cohen-Kroytoro – 08-6519421, 050-6912303); tarot & palm reading (Shulah Mits – 08-6108323); healing gems – “Avne ha-hoshen” (Sarit’s Gallery, 113 ha-Palmah St. in the Old City – 050-8858535); rings & charms made of 5 metals inscribed with Hebrew letters & healing crystals (Mikha’eli Jewelry, 74 Keren Kayemet le-Yisra’el St. in the Old City – 08-6278064); to name just a few examples.