FLORENTIN, MEVORAH (1895–1963), Venezuelan pioneer in the education of the blind. Florentin was born in Salonika, Greece. He lost the sight of one eye at the age of seven and his sight gradually deteriorated. In 1923, he settled in Caracas, Venezuela, and devoted himself to the study of Spanish until 1934 when, convinced that he would soon go completely blind, he turned to the study of Braille and the welfare of the blind. In 1936, he founded the Society for the Friends of the Blind, and after passing examinations in Braille and in typhlology (the scientific study of blindness) in Paris, he established a printing press for the publication of scholarly texts in Braille. In 1959, he founded the Eye Bank of the Venezuelan Institute for the Blind and the first School of Telephonists for the blind. In recognition of his services he was decorated four times by the Venezuelan Government, including the Order of Francisco de Miranda. After Florentin's death, the street in which the institute for the blind is located was named in his memory, and different educational institutions for the blind carry his name.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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