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Friends from Far and Wide

We were very blessed in November to host many friends and partners who came to visit Akko to see the Educators’ Kibbutz first hand. We met Julie Diamond from the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation together with Lee Gordon, the cofounder of Hand-in-Hand, at the Jam. We talked with Julie and Lee about the challenges Akko faces as a city in Israel’s periphery, the special role the Jam plays as a nightlife venue for locals, and the importance of encouraging local arts and culture in fighting youth drain.

We were thrilled to spend a few days with long-time friends Roger and Susan Walters who visited us from London. After a rock concert at the Jam and a delicious Shabbat meal at the kibbutz, we introduced Roger to Akko Mayor Shimon Lankri in the mayor’s office at City Hall. We were joined at the meeting by Barry Cohen, who was first introduced to the Akko Educators' Kibbutz at Israel Out Loud, run by the East Bay Jewish Federation last May. Barry came to Akko to see how our project to purchase a new building for the Educators' Kibbutz was progressing and to hear directly from the mayor about the work we do in the city. We are very happy that Barry was able to include a visit to us in the itinerary for his time in the north and we look forward to meeting again in January.

At the meeting, the mayor expressed his admiration and support for the Educators’ Kibbutz and those present discussed ways to advance our activities, especially by promoting our current relocation project to a building in the heart of the city.

We also hosted a visit from Louise Jacobs and Michael Weger, the chairperson and chief executive respectively of the United Jewish Israel Appeal (UJIA), the UK’s largest Jewish charitable organization focused on Israel regeneration and engagement. The UJIA has been promoting development and creating positive impact in the Galil in general, and Akko in particular, for years. We gave Louise and Michael a short walking tour through Akko’s mixed inner-city neighbourhoods to show some of the challenges of life in Akko and the ways that the Educators’ Kibbutz is confronting these challenges.

With each of our guests we talked about the work that still needs to be done to turn our dream of relocating to a home and community center in the heart of the city a reality. If you are planning a trip to Israel, think about including Akko in your visit. We would love to host you and share the important work that the Akko Educators’ Kibbutz is doing to transform the city and its surroundings and to better the lives of those who live here.

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