Christian, Muslim and Jewish Women Connect Over Dessert and Dialogue
Dessert and Dialogue breaks down barriers and stereotypes, introduces a variety of cultures and develops strong relations between communities.
In late October, 15 Christian, Muslim and Jewish women came together at the J for Dessert and Dialogue, a multicultural women’s empowerment program that aims to find mutual ground and strengthen the bond between Arab and Jewish women from the Western Galilee while sharing, exposing and involving our partner communities to the complex diversity of the Western Galilee.
“We learned what it was like to coexist together in Israel. They are trying to start a peace movement by touring our partnership regions,” explained Karin Lester, Shalom Austin development manager of young families outreach and engagement.
Dessert and Dialogue is a collaborative project of the Young Adults Center of Matte Asher Regional Council and the Shalom Austin partnership with Western Galilee Partnership2Gether.
The meaningful dialogue was led by a group of Arab and Jewish women from Akko and Matte Asher. Rachel Stern, Shalom Austin chief learning and engagement officer, moderated the discussion.
Those in the group get to know each other, go on field trips and celebrate special holidays together, like Ramadan, New Years and Passover. While strengthening their bonds, they also enhance their leadership and project building skills.
These women, ages 25 to 45, bring their favorite dishes to the meetings, share their recipes and, with help from a professional facilitator, discuss mutual issues pertaining to being women and mothers in Israel and in the Western Galilee region.
One of the components of the program is a visit to the Jewish communities in the US. During these meetings, the participants meet with a variety of audiences, attend services in synagogues, churches and mosques, and connect and inspire communities to form their own groups.
Program goals include strengthening bonds and encouraging communication between the various cultures and groups—Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze—in the Western Galilee; breaking down barriers and stereotypes; empowering women; widening the circles to family members and beyond; introducing a variety of cultures; developing strong relations between communities; inspiring the creation of similar groups in Partnership2Gether communities; and developing leadership skills among the participants.
Partnership2Gether is a program of The Jewish Agency and The Jewish Federations of North America, promoting people-to-people relationships through cultural, social, medical, educational and economic programs.
Partnership2Gether is between the 14 communities of the Central Area Consortium, Budapest and Israel’s Western Galilee. The program’s mission is to promote mutually beneficial endeavors forging relationships through programs that build Jewish identity and strengthen ties and connections among and between our communities. ■