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"Dror Israel really light up dark corners of the city"

Meet Yehuda Wyszkin, the Akko Municipality’s Director of Welfare Services, who has been working closely with Dror Israel’s Educators’ Kibbutz in Akko for over a decade.

Yehuda Wyszkin

No matter what program or what it’s location, we always work in partnership with the relevant public education or welfare authorities.

When we asked him what makes our projects and partnership in the city so special, he answered:

“I see the members of the urban Educators’ Kibbutz in Akko as pioneers of social and community work in the city! They have turned the Zionist and community vision of the kibbutz into a reality of social involvement in almost every area of life in the city! In the spirit of Hanukkah, I can definitely say that they really light up dark corners of the neighborhood and the city, and bring a voice of hope and optimism to shared society in Akko!”

The projects we have worked on together include the Freedom of Expression program. We identified together the need in the community of many senior citizen Russian-speaking olim, some of whom arrived in Israel only a few years ago, for which the state-funded ulpan didn’t suffice to really teach them Hebrew. We also saw that many were quite alone and hungry for social frameworks. And so the Freedom of Expression program was born – an informal Hebrew-study and social group for Russian-speaking seniors, which also holds discussions on various topics, includes community involvement, and goes on excursions together. This year is the third of the successful program, with a very special group of individuals whose Hebrew is improving, but of course that is not the only goal of the project.

Yehuda in the entrence to our community garden in Akko

Another project born of the partnership between Dror Israel and the Akko Welfare Department is the community garden – a wonderful place that meets needs in this neighborhood of small apartments without porches or backyards. The well-studied therapeutic aspects of gardening have not passed over our community gardeners, who have been enjoying going outside, getting their hands dirty, watching their plants grow, and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables!) of their labor. During the pandemic, it also has been serving as a lovely outdoor meeting place for people who prefer not to meet other indoors – grandparents with their grandkids, friends looking for a quiet place to sit, and more.

The fact that we have partners such as Yehuda is so important – we define together what the city’s challenges are, and then decide how to face each of those challenges together.

Thank you, Yehuda!

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