Open Hearts - Open Minds – Open Mouths: Meet the Akko locals “breaking their teeth” for the good of
The summer brings to an end a year of meetings for our two fantastic Word-for-Word bilingual groups. Word-for-Word is a program that brings together adults from Akko’s Jewish and Arab communities who have decided to put the effort into learning each other’s languages and bolstering the whole city’s capacity for dialogue.
We had one Hebrew group and one Arabic group that met every week throughout the year. Word-for-Word knows that language is a window into culture and so once a month, the groups came together for a festive gathering where they got a chance to test out their new conversational skills get to know each other, and learn about the people with whom they share their city.
This is what one of our most recent graduates, Ya’akov Kapon, had to say about his time in Word-for-Word:
“The whole experience was really significant for me! I learned to hear Arabic in a totally new way. I learned to love it, and to build with it. It was really cool to see our group become a meaningful forum over the year and to watch how our meetings with the other group allowed us to grow and develop a new level of interaction between us. At first when we met we were meeting as Jews and Arabs, but by the end we were just meeting as friends. We swapped phone numbers and recipes and visited each other. It was an extremely meaningful process.”
This is now the third year in a row we have run Word-for-Word and we are happy to count sixty graduates within our community orbit, and are looking forward to welcoming many more in the years to come. After they finish the formal program, we encourage participants to stay in touch. Many of the program graduates have chosen to carry on the Word-for-Word spirit and are currently engaged as activists here in Akko either through our other activities or by finding alternate pathways that work toward making the city a better place for all its residents.