Looking back on my life, I can point to the two main influences that have shaped me into the woman that I have become: my phenomenal mother, Yocheved and my incredible older sister, Cochava. In her early twenties my mother decided to make the courageous decision to pack up her life and move to Israel. My mother raised my sister and me to walk in this world with dignity, heart and courage. We were taught to believe that we had the power to change our reality.
I want to share with you the beautiful story of Jamila Chir, a 71-year old Druze woman who lives in Israel. Chir is the first Druze woman in Israel to start her own business. On Israel’s 58th Independence Day, she received the great honor of lighting a candle at the national independence ceremony. Chir grew up in a very poor family, and many times throughout her life she was told that because she was a woman, she could not own a business. She began making natural soaps on the roof of her home. Today, Chir has thousands of employees and exports her product to more than 30 countries worldwide. She remains humble and never forgets her past. Therefore, she only hires women and individuals with disabilities. Chir makes a conscious effort to hire people from all religions; she says, we are all brothers and sisters.
Israel is a unique country in many ways and one of these aspects is the great spirit of entrepreneurship. We have created many inventions that have contributed greatly to the world’s population and economy. I feel that it is crucial that we advocate for entrepreneurship for both men and women. It is important that we make a conscious effort not to forget anyone along the way. We all have the power to create and contribute. Remember, you are the change you were waiting for!