Mishloach Manot from AZM Brighten Up Purim

To spread the joy of Purim, the American Zionist Movement helped collect donations to send mishloach manot (traditional Purim gift baskets) to Israeli children and soldiers who might otherwise not have received any.

AZM donated more than 450 mishloach manot to those most in need in Southern Israel. Children at the Kehillat Netzach Israel Preschool in Ashkelon received approximately 140 mishloach manot. The baskets were a welcome surprise and cheered up the children, who were staying in shelters because of Code Red sirens from rocket attacks.

AZM also distributed approximately 80 mishloach manot to Neve Hanna, a children’s home in Kiryat Gat, and 70 to Ethiopian children at the Beit Canada Absorption Center in Ashdod. More than 350 mishloach manot were additionally sent to 1st and 2nd graders at AMIT schools in Kiryat Malachi.

As always, AZM was proud to include Israeli soldiers in this campaign. A special intelligence unit received 140 mishloach manot packages and even visited preschoolers during rocket attacks to reassure them and to participate in Purim activities.

Special thanks to AMIT, Mercaz USA, Temple Sinai in Tenafly, New Jersey, for their generous donation, and to everyone around the country who helped make this a special Purim for so many.

To help AZM continue its mission of supporting and promoting Zionism, donate here.

 

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A Chanukah Message of Thanks

The coincidence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah has generated a great deal of conversation in the American Jewish community. It has even created a new holiday known as “Thanksgivukkah.” However, when we examine the themes of these two holidays more closely, we can see that they have much in common.

Thanksgiving is a unique American holiday in which all of us can participate. It is an opportunity to give thanks for the freedom of this country, for our ability to live as Jews in an open society even with all of its challenges, and for the special gifts with which we have been presented by the wider American society. It is appropriate for each of us to give thanks and not to take these gifts for granted.

Chanukah can also be seen as a time of Thanksgiving. Rabbi David Chaim HaLevy, a former Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, writes that the Al HaNissim prayer appears in the Amidah in the section of Thanksgiving. He states that this is most appropriate, for on Chanukah we should give thanks not only for the victory of the Maccabees in ancient times, but also for its continuing message of spiritual and physical freedom for which we have fought and for which all nations crave. He reminds us, after the birth of the State of Israel, never to take this occurrence for granted.

We are privileged to live in a land of freedom and, at the same time, to express our solidarity with the State of Israel. Like the Maccabees of old, the people of Israel have stood up to tremendous physical and spiritual challenges. Israel remains for us not only a homeland, but also a beacon of light in a tumultuous Middle East.

As we light our Chanukah candles, as we sit down at our Thanksgiving tables, let us recognize not only our gratitude for the past, but also our dedication to making sure that the American dream and the Zionist dream shall live forever.

 

Rabbi Vernon Kurtz

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AZM Organizations March in the 2013 Celebrate Israel Parade

DSCN0100With banners waving and signs held high, hundreds of people proudly marched with the American Zionist Movement and the World Zionist Organization at the 2013 Celebrate Israel Parade on June 2. Every year, more than thirty thousand people march in the parade to show their support of and love for Israel, and hundreds of thousands of spectators crowd sidewalks to cheer for their communities.

This year, AZM and WZO brought many of their constituents together as a “cluster,” with representatives from member organizations Amit, Ameinu, Mercaz, Hashomer Hatzair, and Habonim Dror as well as area synagogues Or Shalom, Hebrew Tabernacle, and Congregation Habonim. Hadassah, Young Judaea, ARZA and B’nei Akiva followed, making a delegation of upwards of 1,000 Israel supporters. In keeping with the Parade theme of “Picture Israel,” AZM members carried signs in the theme of “Visualizing Israel,” each featuring elements of how Israel has contributed to the Jewish community and to the world at large. Phrases included “Realizing Jewish Values,” “The Zionist Dream – Now a Reality,” “Using Science to Benefit All Humankind,” “Developing High-Tech Education” and more, visually unifying the group and underscoring the message.

While waiting to march on the parade route, the AZM contingent and passersby were treated to several performances by the Tzofim Friendship Caravan, a summer delegation of Israeli teenagers who travel around North America and promote Israeli culture through music and dance.

 

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Asthrith Baltsan Presents “Hatikva” in New York City

This program is now fully subscribed and we cannot accept more reservations.

If you would like to hear Astrith Baltsan, and enjoy her entire 90 minute Hatikva program, we suggest you take advantage of her

April 11th performance of Hatikvah: Hope Reborn

Temple Israel
7:30 PM
112 E. 75th Street

To purchase tickets, please call: 212.415.5500

Or visit:  http://www.92y.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=91544

 

 

 

 

Take a mesmerizing journey on April 10th through the background and history of Israel’s national anthem, HaTikva.  Through a multi-media presentation, pianist Asthrith Baltsan reveals Hatikvah’ s past and its path to becoming the song of the Jewish People.

Register today

 

flyer for Hatkiva program

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More Than 1000 Mishloach Manot Delivered to Southern Israel for Purim

Children in costume at NAAMAT centerFor more than 25 years, the American Zionist Movement has proudly been donating mishloach manot (traditional Purim gift baskets) to Israeli children and soldiers for Purim. Because of the numerous recent attacks faced by those living in the south of Israel, this year AZM focused on Ashkelon and its surrounding areas in order to show solidarity with residents there. More than 1,000 mishloach manot were distributed to a variety of organizations and community centers in need of extra support.

AZM donated the majority of mishloach manot to organizations in and around Ashkelon related to children. Children at Neve Hanna, a children’s home located in Kiryat Gat, and in the children’s ward of Barzilai Hospital, were delighted to receive their candy and noisemakers. The gifts enhanced the Purim celebration at the Kehillat Netzach Israel Ashkelon Preschool as well as at several NA’AMAT daycare centers. At the Ashkelon Family Nest, which assists young mothers and their children, recipients both enjoyed the surprise and were educated on the importance of volunteering and helping others. Ethiopian immigrant children at the Beit Canada Absorption Center celebrated Purim for the first time, and their mishloach manot made the experience even more exciting.

As in the past, in conjunction with Yashar LaChayal, an organization that provides necessities to soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, AZM donated mishloach manot to soldiers on Israel’s front lines. Lone Soldiers who are based in the Ashkelon area also were recipients of AZM gifts.

The mishloach manot were distributed by Marty and Terri Davis, who, in their capacity as Ashkelon community activists, are passionate about helping their community. In a letter of thanks to AZM, they shared how important the packages were to recipients.

[The mishloach manot] put smiles on the faces of many children and Soldiers. Try to imagine a child in the hospital missing out on the Purim festivities and, from over the ocean, special gifts arrive to help them celebrate! Even those with serious health problems were able to smile.…For us it is an emotional experience, and we would like to thank AZM on behalf of all the children and soldiers in Ashkelon for bringing them such joy and happiness.

 To help AZM continue its mission of supporting and promoting Zionism, donate here.

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Mark Tisha b’Av With A Zionist Perspective

Tisha b’Av and Zionism

Romans Sacking JerusalemThe observance of Tisha b’Av Saturday night July 28 and Sunday, July 29, gives us the opportunity to focus on the connection between the destructions of the Holy Temples in Jerusalem and, thus, our connection to the Land of Israel.  Zionism arose out of the longing of exiled Jews for their Homeland.  Our leaders kept the exiles focused on what they had lost and have not let them forget. And we did not forget.  We returned from exile to Eretz Yisrael many times, building a country 2,000 years later.

The American Zionist Movement and the World Zionist Organization presents this series of readings that emphasize the connection of Zionism to the messages of Tisha b’Av.  Despite the proximity to 9 Av, please add them to your readings this year or use them in your private contemplation. In every case, please disseminate them to your members as soon as possible.

May the fast for those who so choose be an easy one.

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Purim 2012 Brings Gifts and Goodies Front-line Soldiers and Children

The 2012 Purim Connection was another stunning success with lots of thank yous coming in from across Israel.

AZM with help from AMIT, Mercaz,  and many individuals and synagogues across the country brought Purim joy to schools in Kiryat Malachi, soldiers in the front line units across the country, and to many Lone Soldiers (IDF soldiers who serve without the support of their families.)

 

An important part of our Purim Connection is the role that young Jews studying or volunteering in Israel play in the packaging and delivery of the Purim mishloach manot. This year’s volunteers from Magshimey Herut, Habonim-Dror and the kibbutz ulpan program were all on extended stays in Israel as part of  MASA Israel Journey programs.  Among the volunteers to AZM’s Purim Connection were: Raphael Falk,  Andrew DuFour,  Benjamin Scholom, Brett Godette, Yossi Cohen,  Izzy Eisen,  and Eugene Kikoin.

One of the Lone Soldiers, Gidi, who received an AZM Purim package posted on the Kehillat Netzach’s Facebook Page, expressing his happiness and gratitude. When you see comments like these you know how important it is to participate in these programs:

 

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Some More Questions for Your Passover Table

Mt Herzl Flyer

Beit Ha’am Passover Edition

An important part of the Passover tradition is the discussion and debate of the haggadah. It is also a tradition to add new elements into the haggadah.  To provide additional Zionist context to this year’s seder, the World Zionist Organization and AZM offer some songs and texts to be read and considered, as well as some questions to help families put the materials into the Zionist context.

The texts are part of David Ben-Gurion‘s speech at the Peel Commission; the song Out of Egypt (hear it and see it on YouTube) by Alma Zohar, which connects the Jews’ departure from Egypt to the Promised Land to today’s African refugees in Israel; and a reflection by Ze’ev Jabotinsky on the “Four Sons” from the Haggadah. The themes and questions raised in the materials include the collective memory of the Jews, whether Israel helps or impedes the concept of peoplehood, whether the Jews living in Israel and those living outside of Israel are one people,  if Jews throughout the world share a “common denominator,” and more. These questions will help your family and friends reflect on their Zionist identity and their connections to Israel and the Jewish People.

The supplement is available in English, Hebrew, and Spanish. Click below to download yours! Use it at your seder and share it with your friends and neighbors.

 

Passover 2012-English

Passover 2012-Hebrew

Passover 2012-Spanish

Also download the Zionist Dayenu, available here.

See the Alma Zohar video Out of Egypt here:

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This Year Add a New Dayenu to Your Seder

It is part of the Passover tradition to add new songs and stories to the seder.  This year add a contemporary version of Dayenu, one which calls upon the Jewish People to give thanks for the return to Israel and for all of the accomplishments of the Jewish People since the establishment of the State.  This Dayenu ends with a question to encourage discussion around the seder table.  You might even want to add your own verses.

Click on the image below to see a larger version.  You can also download copies by following the link below.

Dayenu

Download a PDF of Dayenu (This is a big file; please allow time for the download.)

Donate to AZM

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This Year Celebrate Tu B’Shvat with a Seder

Tu B’shvat is the Jewish New Year for Trees. As the environment is changing, and the concept of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) is changing with it, we must be more aware of how this generation has the potential and the responsibility to change current practices in our society. In Deuteronomy 20:19 we learn “A human is like a tree in the field.”  Just as one tree does not make a forest, one person does not make up a community.  It takes all of us working together to repair the spiritual and physical damage human have inflicted upon the Earth.  As we celebrate Tu B’shvat, following in the traditions of the Kabbalists in Tzfat (Safed), we must also think about our responsibility to the earth and how to begin these repairs.

Materials are provided here to help individuals, families communities, and synagogues to organize and implement a Tu B’shvat seder as a way to examine and celebrate our connection to the land of Israel and the people of Israel. It is also a way to infuse Zionist identity with a green consciousness.

Tu B’shvat is an ideal time to focus on Israel.  Spring is about to emerge in Israel and forests are beginning to show a tinge of green.  How better to celebrate Israel and environment than with this Tu B’shvat Seder.  Download the hagaddah here.  Download the leaders guide here.

 

Please click on the links below for more Tu B’shvat resources.

Tu B’shvat Song – כי האדם עץ השדה …….Because Man is a Tree of the Field

Tu B’shvat Educational Resources

Tu B’shvat Hagaddah

Make a donation to AZM’s Together as One: Carmel Fire Relief Fund

Plant a tree in the Carmel Forest

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