The Association of the Deaf in Israel, a mutual-help association of the Deaf and for the Deaf, was established in 1944 for the purpose of advancing the welfare of Deaf individuals and the Deaf community, and promoting the rights and the culture of the Deaf in Israel.
The aim of the Association and its members is to make optimal use of the varied abilities of the Deaf, and to work towards consciousness-raising in the hearing world. The ADI provides direct services to the deaf population of Israel, which includes approximately 10,000 individuals whose primary mode of communication is Sign Language, and an additional 100,000 who are hard of hearing. In addition to the central offices and clubhouse in Tel Aviv, the ADI operates several branches (in Jerusalem, Haifa, Netanya, Kalansawa, Petah Tikva, Ashkelon, and Kiryat Gat).
Communication has always been the most difficult issue for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Until very recently, communications for the Deaf required face-to-face contact, or help from parents, children, siblings and acquaintances to make phone calls or arrange appointments. In recent years, the pace of technological innovation has been very fast.
Deaf people have been significant beneficiaries of these advances, particularly in the field of communications. Most recently, the "3rd generation", and the addition of video cameras to both computers and cell-phones, have precipitated yet another revolution.
The Communication Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, inaugurated by the Association of the Deaf in Israel in May 2008, utilizes modern technological tools, in conjunction with experienced Sign Language interpreters, for "real time" communication, between Deaf and hearing people, for a wide variety of purposes. The Center has contributed to a very real improvement in quality of life for the many Deaf Israelis who use its services. With the help of modern video technology, Deaf members can contact the Center, "speak" with the operator (a professional Sign Language interpreter) and through her communicate by telephone with whomever they wish: family members, doctors, nurses, employers, teachers, social workers, lawyers, handymen and technicians of all sorts. Every day, the Center staff handles dozens of varied requests from veterans and new immigrants alike, enabling the Deaf consumer to cope much more easily with both everyday and emergency situations, and acquire a sense of security and self-sufficiency, since the operator-interpreter is not "doing them a favor", but rather performing a service as a paid professional
Since its founding, the Association of the Deaf in Israel has achieved many important gains for the Deaf community – in civil rights and equal access to services, in teaching Israeli Sign Language, increasing awareness of its importance and training interpreters, and in many aspects of consciousness-raising amongst professionals who work with the Deaf, and in the general public. Through its clubhouses, the ADI also provides peer group association, social and cultural activities, and social welfare services. The ADI operates Ulpan classes and provides a variety of services to new immigrants from all over the world, as well as to veteran Israelis, both Arabs and Jews.
The Association of the Deaf in Israel is registered as a Non-Profit Association with the Government Registry of NPO’s, Association # 58002339-8.
The main offices of the Association and the Communication Center are located in the Helen Keller House, a 4-story building in a central area of Tel Aviv, and are open five days a week, Monday through Thursday, from morning until evening. The Helen Keller House includes offices, classrooms, meeting rooms and a larger hall.
Resources for running expenses of the Association derive from membership dues, government allotments, and the support of foundations and private donors. The professional staff includes a director, and a social services staff which supervises group activities in the various local clubs and provides individual, career, couple and family counseling. Office staff is primarily National Service volunteers.
Israeli Sign Language and Hebrew are the languages of the Israeli Deaf community, therefore most of the ADI's services and activities are provided in these languages. Ulpan classes meet twice a week, 9-10 months of the year, for new Olim to learn both Hebrew and Israeli Sign. There are several Russian Sign interpreters in Israel, and a very small number of people who know ASL. One of the social workers in the Helen Keller Center is a native speaker of English, and is available for consultation.
Requests for information and appointments for consultation can be made through the ADI central office:
Telephone: 03-7303355, Fax: 03-7396419,