2016 International Bible Contest for Adults

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Robotics Competitions – from Riverdale, NY to the Israeli Desert

The American Zionist Movement congratulates the students from the SAR High School Robotics Team, who participated in the International Robotraffic Competition at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology last week!

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Jacob Aaronson (12th grade), Joseph Rubin (11th grade) & Joey Yudelson (10th grade).

The SAR team took 2nd place in the Racing competition, 4th place in the Presentation competition for their idea of a ‘smart’ intersection, and 7th place in the Careful driving competition. SAR was the only team representing the United States, and competed alongside students from Russia, Ukraine, Argentina and Israel, making up a total of 25 participating groups.

The competition, which focused on road safety and intelligence in transport, was held at the Israel Institute of Technology, known as the Technion. Starting with the same base hardware, each team had to build and program a robot vehicle capable of adapting itself to traffic situations while analyzing its environment. From its development, the competition sought from students that they not only put into play the knowledge of robotics and programming, but also an understanding of the problems associated with the development of intelligent devices that need to operate safely in complex situations, such as those generated by traffic in a city.

Robotics Competitions are a great way to inspire students to go into science, technology, engineering and math, while having fun at the same time. We are also very proud to mention the great work of AMIT, a member organization of AZM, dedicated to education in Israel.

Drawing from the success of the robotics training in schools, an AMIT High School for girls in the Israeli Negev desert town of Yeroham, added robotics to its curriculum two years ago. In February, the team won the Inspire Award at the inaugural Tech Challenge National Robotics Competition and was chosen to represent Israel next month in the world championship to be held in St. Louis, Missouri. The TCN Competition requires student participation in community service volunteering. As part of their volunteer work, the students began teaching robotics in a nearby Bedouin village with the goal of helping children there establish a robotics team.

Adele Weizmann, the team captain, mentioned that her team truly believes they can impact the community through science and robotics, and a core motivation is their hope to be an inspiration to other students.

 

We wish the best of luck to the students of AMIT High School at the TCN Competition this month, and are very proud to be supporting the important work of AMIT in Israel. Ido Frommer, director of the Yeroham Science Center, said robotics have transformed the lives of children in this desert city, and that the AMIT students are a prime example of how robotics can transform a community as well as its neighbors.

 

FeminIsrael — Celebrating Women’s Accomplishments in Israel

feminisraellogoMarch 8th was International Women’s Day, which takes place during Women’s History Month. Each year, AZM and WZO mark Women’s History Month with “FeminIsrael”, an initiative created to focus on and draw attention to the achievements of Israeli women, and their tremendous contributions to Israel and the world.

This year in the context of FeminIsrael, the AZM and the Consulate General of Israel in New York have joined together to honor some of the women who comprise Israel’s Delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. AZM will be hosting a reception and panel discussion

It promises to be a very special program, featuring some high-powered Israeli professional women, including: Orit Rishpi from wepower, Hava Carrie from the Carmel Institute, Gila Gamiel, Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, among others. Moderating the event will be Farhana Rahman, Director for Communications for Z-Cast, a mobile app for broadcasting live podcasts developed by the Israeli start-up, Zula. Farhana gained quite a bit of attention during her business trip to Israel earlier this year as she posted her strong support and love for the country and people of Israel.

Click here to sign up, or click on the flyer below.

 

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AZM Celebrates Women’s History Month

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The AZM and the WZO are proud to once again promote FeminIsrael as part of  Women’s History month. FeminIsrael highlights and celebrates the accomplishments of Israeli women and their contributions to Israeli to Israeli society and the betterment of the world.

We also want to honor female heroines of pre-state and contemporary Israel. They are positive role models who have contributed to shape the Jewish state and improve Israeli society. Henrietta Szold, Lea Goldberg, Hannah Senesh, Shulamit Aloni, Gold Meir, along with IDF soldiers, and women politicians, are among the pillars of the shared Israeli narrative.

For ideas and materials to learn more about these women please download materials here.

 

On March 16, 2016 in New York City, AZM and the Consulate General of Israel in New York are sponsoring a FeminIsrael Event.  For more information and to registration, please click here.

Join HebrewSpeak and learn how to speak Hebrew like an Israeli!

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For a little more than the cost of your weekly cup of coffee and muffin, you can expand your Hebrew skills so you can do all this, and so much more, the next time you’re in Israel!

If you’d like to participate in a HebrewSpeak program, please contact Susie Baumohl at hebrewspeak@azm.org or call 212-318-6100 x6947.

We’re waiting for you! מחכים לכם!

Sponsored by the American Zionist Movement and the World Zionist Organization.

Spread Some of the Joy of Purim in Israel

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Dear Friends,

Believe it or not, Purim is right around the corner! As we prepare for our parties and plan out our costumes, we also have a special opportunity to spread some Purim joy in Israel.

Please join our campaign to send Mishloach Manot to the members of the Jerusalem Border Patrol, and police officers stationed in Jerusalem’s Old City, a unique combination of IDF soldiers and police officers tasked with ensuring the security of our sacred capital. Over the past few months, a disturbing number of vicious terror attacks have changed the daily reality in Israel – primarily in Jerusalem. This new wave of violence was just starting to become the frightening norm as we attended the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem this past October. Tensions could be felt throughout the city, and country. Jerusalem businesses have suffered, tourism has decreased, and parents don’t leave their homes with their children without carrying handheld items for self-defense.Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 11.36.39 AM

While tragic news spreads quickly, what we don’t see or hear about in the US are the numerous attacks thwarted. Over the past six months, border patrol and police forces have seized countless weapons and prevented on average 2-3 terror attacks per day in the greater Jerusalem area. Just last week, Hadar Cohen Z”L, a 19 year-old border policewoman was killed in a terrorist attack at the Damascus Gate. Brave young men and women apprehend criminals and stop terror in its tracks; heroes we rarely hear about and don’t recognize enough.

Please join us in thanking them. As the Jewish nation, we have a responsibility to protect Israel, our Homeland. Though we may not be there personally, we can support those on the front lines who work tirelessly to keep our eternal capital safe so that Jerusalem’s civilians can walk the streets safely.

Imagine the pride and joy of a young officer receiving a show of appreciation from the global Jewish community this Purim.

Your gift of:

  •  $36 will provide one policeman with a basket;
  •  $180 will ensure an entire team will receive baskets.

In addition to this important initiative, and as in years past, the American Zionist Movement’s Purim Connection
program will continue to celebrate Purim with children in Ashkelon and other Israeli towns and villages.

  •  A gift of $300 will provide mishloach manot for an entire class.

Every gift counts and even a small donation will help an officer or Israeli child to enjoy the holiday. All gift baskets are purchased in Israel, therefore providing critical support to small Israeli businesses. Our friends and colleagues in Israel will hand deliver your gift basket.

Mishloach manot can be easily ordered via our website, please include a personal message that will be delivered with the basket.

This year’s campaign will be dedicated in memory of our dear friend and colleague, Marty Davis, who was instrumental in ensuring the success of this program in Israel. Marty made a difference and is sorely missed.

Amidst the latest wave of terror, we reflect on the meaning of Purim, a celebration to commemorate one of many stories from our collective history that exhibits our unique ability to stand up to our enemies, and unite as a people to overcome danger. In these difficult times, the American Zionist community, whose members are from vastly different backgrounds and perspectives, must join together to boost the morale to those who protect and serve, Israel and world Jewry. In doing so, we send the crucial message to Israel that we stand by her side, now during this difficult period, and always.

This Purim, join this initiative to do something different, do something special. Please order your mishloach manot baskets today or mail in a check to:

American Zionist Movement
40 Wall Street, Suite #706
New York, NY 10005.

The AZM, the American arm of the World Zionist Organization, is committed to the strengthening of Israel – locally, and around the world. JOIN US in uniting as a people, overcoming fear, and making this Purim a very special one for Israel’s quiet heroes.

We thank you for your support.

Rabbi Vernon Kurtz                                                           William D. Hess

President                                                                          Chair, Purim Connection

Sig Will + Vernon

 

 

 

 

P.S. We ask that you make your gift by March 9, 2016.

 

Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipients, Spring 2016

We are delighted to announce the recipients of the Spring 2016 Helyn B. Reich Scholarship. They have been chosen for their impressive involvement in Zionist causes in the United States, ranging from activism on their university campuses, to their commitment to Tikkun Olam, and to relentlessly fighting anti-Semitism. We are proud to support the future Zionist activists of our country.

Isabel cropped Isabel Schneider will be attending Saving The Stones, in Acre, northern Israel. The practical training program is designed to give the foundation  needed to begin a career in conservation of built heritage and historic preservation. Isabel  graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and spent a year in Israel as a  Community Development Fellow, teaching English to Israeli students through small group tutoring and creative  projects. The granddaughter of Holocaust survivors and having experienced anti-Semitism personally, Isabel is a  proud and passionate Zionist. Isabel writes that “Zionism is the acknowledgement that Jews not only deserve to  exist, but also to thrive, and in order for that dream to be realized they must have a place of their own. That place is Israel.” While in Israel, Isabel curated art shows and was able to build strong connections with Israeli artists and writers. Following the program, she plans to keep working in museums in both conservation and curatorial capacities, to be able to impact the international perception of Israel as a cultural leader, and perhaps even make Aliyah in the future.

 

Read Isabel’s essay on her connection to Zionism
Ella CroppesElla Ozer, a current undergraduate student at the University of Arizona, will be attending Tel Aviv University this upcoming Spring. Despite Tel Aviv University not being part in the semester abroad program of her university, Ella decided to spend her semester in Israel. Born in an Israeli family with very strong Zionist values, Ella has participated in various programs in Israel and was a proud member of the Israeli Scouts. She is also extremely involved in Jewish and Zionist life on her university campus, partaking in Hillel and Chabad events, co-founding the IAC Mishelanu chapter, and advocating for Israel on a day-to-day basis. Having her cousins serve in the Israel Defense Forces has had a great impact on Ella and incited her to get involved in a program dedicated to helping IDF soldiers. She hopes that her semester abroad will help her decide whether she wants to make Aliyah upon graduation. She is, regardless, looking forward to creating strong and meaningful relationships during her Israel experience, that will last a lifetime.

Read Ella’s essay on her connection to Zionism

Hebrew Comes to The Forefront of Jewish Education

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 The American Zionist Movement has been  striving for over 100 years to strengthen the connection of American Jews to Israel. From the Tachles program to Cafe Ivrit, AZM has long held the belief that  Hebrew is an essential component of Jewish identity and attachment to Israel. For this reason, we are extremely proud to be partners in the new American Jewish initiative – The Council for Hebrew Language and Culture – to promote the teaching of Hebrew all across the United States.

The Council for Hebrew Language and Culture convened last week in New Jersey for its annual conference. The organization, established in 2013,  aims to connect people to the Jewish culture, religion and language through Hebrew. This November the Council attained one of its initial goals —  the establishment of professional network of teachers, which aims to “address the needs and professional growth of the tens of thousands of people teaching Hebrew in schools, synagogues, community centers and youth movements in North America, and to unite them under one parent organization to advance the study of the Hebrew language.(JPost article)..  

Speaking Hebrew is a way to strengthen one’s connection and attachment to Israel, Israelis, Jewish and Israeli culture, and even helps promote connections with other Diaspora Jews. Hebrew is a great way to bridge the cultural divide that can be felt between American Jews and Israelis.  The founding conference, established by the HLC, gathered 120 Hebrew teachers from all across North America, who were able to discuss and experiment with innovative approaches to teach Hebrew, and discuss the role of language in Israel education. The excitement and passion conveyed by the participants was palpable, and all were thrilled to be the educators that will hopefully transform and advance the teaching of Hebrew in the United States. 

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In Memory of the Victims of Terror in Israel

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The American Zionist Movement mourns all the victims of terror and condemns those who perpetrate, condone or applaud such acts. In recent months people in Israel have suffered at the hands of individuals who have expressed their personal anger and outrage in the form of violence against innocent and unsuspecting victims.  These horrific events have been joined by equally unimaginable acts of terror in Europe, Africa, Lebanon and Turkey. AZM’s leadership offers it deepest condolences to the families of those mortally wounded and to the injured and maimed.  As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we pray for those souls who were tragically taken.  We call on the world community to condemn those who perpetrate hatred and incite violence, as we pledge to join together to restore balance and bring peace to the world.

 

 

Baruch Dayan Emet.

All victims of terror since 2000 can be found on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.  Below are those murdered in the most recent series of incidents.

Alexander Levlovich Sept 13, 2015
Eitam Henkin Oct 1, 2015
Naama Henkin Oct 1, 2015
Aharon Banita-Bennett Oct 3, 2015
Nehemia Lavi​ Oct 3, 2015
Chaim Haviv Oct 13, 2015
Alon Govberg Oct 13, 2015
Yeshayahu Krishevsky Oct 13, 2015
Omri Levy Oct 18, 2015
Habtom Weldemicheal Zerhom Oct 18, 2015
Avraham Asher Hasno Oct 20, 2015
Rabbi Haim (Howie) Rothman Oct 24, 2015
Richard Lakin Oct 27, 2015
Benjamin Yakubovich Nov 8, 2015
Netanel Litman Nov 13, 2015
Ya’akov Litman Nov 13, 2015
Reuven Aviram Nov 19, 2015
Aharon Yesayev Nov 19, 2015
Yaakov Don Nov 19, 2015
Ezra Schwartz Nov 19, 2015
Shadi Arafa Nov 19, 2015
Hadar Buchris Nov 22, 2015
Ziv Mizrahi Nov 23, 2015
Ofer Ben Ari Dec 23, 2015
Reuven (Eduardo) Birmajer Dec 23, 2015
Gennady Kaufman Dec 30, 2015
Alon Bakal Jan 1, 2016
Shimon (Shimi) Ruimi Jan 1, 2016
Amin Shaaban Jan 1, 2016
Dafna Meir Jan 17, 2016
Shlomit Krigman Jan 25, 2016

Robotraffic 2016 Competition at the Technion

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 8.32.50 AM The Robotraffic Competition will take place at the Technion next March for the 7th consecutive year. The event is a  joint  initiative of the Technion Leumi Robotics Center at the Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering  and RAVSAK, the Jewish Community Day School Network, in cooperation with the World Zionist Organization and  the American  Zionist Movement. The participants come from all over Israel and the Jewish Diaspora and have the  opportunity  to build their technical knowledge and skills. To compete, each team has to design a vehicle, install the  software, build it, and make a presentation – in Hebrew or English. The event does not, however, only focus on  technology and innovations in robotic car structure, but also on knowledge of driving rules and road safety. The  teams are judged on the quality of their cars, how well they drive, and how safe they are.

 

Avi Agnon, Chairman of World ORT –  a global Jewish educational organization, which cosponsored the event in 2012 –  highlighted its contributions in bringing “groups from abroad, encouraging the connection between Jewish communities  abroad and those in Israel, and providing a forum to exchange knowledge and ideas between students”.

Indeed, beyond a robotic competition, the event is an opportunity for young North American teens to experience a  week of friendly competition, while meeting budding scientists in Israel and discovering the country. The participants  will stay in Israel for 9 days, March 14-22nd 2016.

For more information, please contact Einav Gelber at einav.ogi@gmail.com

 

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