For the past six months, the Akko Educators’ Kibbutz has been spearheading a joint initiative with the municipal Welfare Department and UJIA (United Jewish Israel Appeal of UK)that focuses on empowering women, in particular from the city’s mixed inner-city neighborhoods. In November, the Lionesses of Akko opened a new chapter with the very first “Female Friday” event.
The inaugural Female Friday saw nearly fifty Jewish and Arab women gather together at the Jam for a morning of cultural, social and professional enrichment. Every aspect of the event was designed to reflect the values and goals of empowering local women by sharing knowledge and fostering solidarity across cultural and linguistic boundaries.
Attendees of the very first Female Friday enjoyed coffee and refreshments provided by a local independent female business owner before listening to a fascinating lecture by Dr. Fatina Khazan about female creativity and ingenuity. The group was then treated to a truly multi-cultural musical performance by Evgenia, Hagar and Aliyah, local activist women from the neighborhood of the Akko Educators’ Kibbutz.
“This was our first time doing it so we weren’t sure exactly how it would work or if people would show up, but I have to say it was a huge success,” said Naomi Seknow, one of the organizers of the event. “With Female Fridays we are trying to do something different, to create something new in the city. When Jewish and Arab women from all walks of life come together, there is a huge potential for power and change in that. What Lionesses of Akko and Female Fridays in particular is trying to do, is to harness that potential,” she added.
Female Friday’s is a joint venture run in partnership with UJIA and Dr. Janan Falach, a local Druze woman who is the chairwoman of the Akko Women’s Vision organization that works to foster Jewish-Arab engagement.
This month’s event was the first in a series to be held throughout the coming year. Each event will expose the women who attend to content and knowledge sharing in order to stimulate professional growth and leadership development. In addition, Female Fridays creates a social platform for female members of Akko’s various ethnic groups to meet each other and establish a broad network of relationships. It is a key program within the Akko Educators’ Kibbutz Lionesses of Akko project.