Second Annual Layla Lavan Celebrates Israel

layla pic2More than 250 young professionals gathered together at Libation on July 24 to celebrate Israel at the Second Annual Layla Lavan, All-White Night. Based on the all-night festival held in Tel Aviv that highlights the city’s cultural life, this year’s Layla Lavan similarly featured numerous Israel-themed activities. “We wanted Layla Lavan to engage everyone with Israel’s dynamic culture and to give people of sense of getting a bit of Israel in New York,” said Karen Rubinstein, Executive Director of the American Zionist Movement, which sponsored Layla Lavan. “The concept is a great one and we think Layla Lavan can be built on from year to year, bringing in a growing number of participants and activities.”

The evening, which was co-sponsored by Isramerica in partnership with Masa Israel Journey and Bridging the Gap, was initially planned several months prior to Operation Protective Edge, the Israel Defense Forces’ current military activity. Organizers faced a dilemma about whether to cancel, but ultimately decided the event would continue as planned, though with several minor adjustments. “Israelis would be the first to say that life must go on, so we decided to take the same approach and celebrate everything that Israel has to offer,” said Sivan Hadari, founder of Isramerica and Layla Lavan Event Manager.

With the emotions of the precarious situation in Israel in mind, Hadari invited IDF Captain Amir Telem to speak about his experience in the Air Force. He emphasized that events like Layla Lavan bring together communities and should continue despite difficult times. “In Israel, we don’t take it for granted that you have to fight for freedom for your country,” he said. “Every generation in Israel has a mission to protect the Jewish land … [and] our mission here in the US is to support the soldiers as much as we can.”

Attendees took the message of standing together and staying in good spirits to heart, and danced to Israeli and American music all night. They lined up for henna tattoos, hammed it up at the photobooth, shopped at the mini shuk, and indulged in falafel and other Israeli snacks. They also participated in Café Ivrit, a space for practicing Hebrew through informal conversation and games. “I was so thrilled by the ruach [spirit] and pride at Layla Lavan,” said Allie Zur. “Coming together with so many people to share our love and support of Israel – especially in dark times like today – made me feel so connected.”
Visit here for more photos!

 

Bookmark and Share

Join AZM and Isramerica at 2nd Annual Layla Lavan!

Bring a little piece of Israel back home to New York City at AZM and Isramerica’s 2nd Annual Layla Lavan.

Register now to get early bird prices!

rsvp-button

Layla Lavan flier

Bookmark and Share

Special Concert with Rami Kleinstein – May 12

Join AZM, ISRAMERICA and other local Jewish organizations for a special concert with Israeli singer Rami Kleinstein.


Monday, May 12
B.B. King Blues Club

 

Buy Your Tickets Now!

Bookmark and Share

Cafe Ivrit Yoga Edition – Alef Bet Yoga!

Register now!

cafe ivrit october with location
<br>

Register today

Join the American Zionist Movement for Cafe Ivrit Yoga Edition. A Professional Yoga instructor will give a yoga class in Hebrew. All levels of Hebrew welcome. No special knowledge of Hebrew or Yoga is required.

Bookmark and Share

NYers Socialize in Hebrew at Cafe Ivrit…Pub Edition!

On Tuesday, August 20, more than 30 Israelis and Americans networked b’ivrit at Café Ivrit…Pub Edition!, the first event for ViZionYLD’s Hebrew immersion-based series for young professionals. At this Hebrew-only zone, guests mingled over beera, chummus, and the always-popular Bamba in a private room at Hudson Station, discussing everything from their favorite TV shows to their latest travels in Hebrew.

Participants played sheshbesh (backgammon), the Hebrew-version Bananagrams and even “lechu dag,” the literal translation of the card game “Go Fish.” Native Hebrew speakers guided conversations, encouraging guests with all levels of fluency to use Hebrew for even mundane communications such as introducing themselves and asking for directions. Even beginners sung along with the Israeli music playing in the background and appreciated the historical posters of pre-State Israel.

Many participants had spent time in Israel on programs run by Masa Israel Journey, which co-sponsored this event. Since their return to New York, some missed Israel and its culture; they were thrilled to be in an environment filled with Hebrew and Israeli-themed activities and to feel like they were back in Israel for an evening.

To see more photos of this fantastic event, please visit our Facebook page.

 

DSCN0316 DSCN0340  DSCN0328DSCN0342 DSCN0357

Bookmark and Share

Learn Hebrew with ViZionYLD and Masa Israel Journey

Register now!

Pub Edition Flyer

Join ViZionYLD & Masa Israel for an evening of informal Hebrew networking. Practice your Hebrew-speaking skills over beera and chummus with other young professionals. Chat with young Israelis, and schmooze b’ivrit at the bar! Café Ivrit is a new initiative that uses the Hebrew language to further connect young professionals to their Jewish identity & the State of Israel.
The series uses a holistic approach of immersion and experiential learning to engage and inspire.

All levels are welcome. Yallah, Nu!!
Light Israeli refreshments will be served.

Bookmark and Share

AZM Brings Layla Lavan to New York City

laylavan-sml

The first New York  Layla Lavan took place on Wednesday evening, July 17th in the midst of one of the worst heat waves in years.  An annual event in Tel Aviv, Layla Lavan was first instituted there as an all-night cultural festival in 2003 to mark UNESCO’s awarding it World Heritage status.  The record-breaking hot and humid weather was no deterrent for the Manhattan revelers who flocked to the west side for “a taste of Israel”  in New York.

From young professionals and local Israelis to BirthRight and Masa returnees, more than 200 New Yorkers made their way to Hudson Station on West 35th Street to enjoy felafel, sabich, bourekas and limonana with blue and white drinks while listening to contemporary Israeli music, speaking Hebrew at the Cafe Ivrit, walking the indoor “shuk” and getting henna tatoos .  A very unique part of the program was a beer tasting table, where participants had the opportunity to test “Lost Tribes Beer”, micro-brews based on  ancient Middle Eastern recipes. Awesome!

AZM organizers described the first annual Layla Lavan as a pilot project that they hope will grow into an annual Israeli cultural summertime party and festival in New York.  As they see it, Layla Lavan  will eventually expand into different venues and flow onto the streets, reflecting a variety of Israeli cultural expressions and the vibrancy of Tel Aviv, the White City,  at night.  Meanwhile, one of those who attended this year summed it up for a lot of people when he wrote on the FaceBook event page “To the organizers of this event: This was one of the best events I have attended in a long time. Thank you for putting it all together!”

View pictures from the event here!

 

 

Bookmark and Share

ViZionYLD Discusses Media Portrayal of Israel

How do the media portray Israel? On February 7, ViZion YLD, the Young Leadership of the American Zionist Movement, set to find out. At an intimate dinner sponsored by AZM, Aryeh Green, Director of MediaCentral, led a provocative discussion about the challenges the region faces today and what we can to do improve Israel’s image. Green is a frequent speaker on Israel, media issues, human rights in the Middle East and current affairs.

Sometimes, Green said, it’s not about advocacy but simply about honest and accurate reporting. He went on to add that it’s our responsibility to demand honest journalism from our main news sources and that we have the power to influence production. At the Q&A session, attendees explored the most credible news sources, why the media inaccurately reports, and the repercussions of those inaccuracies.

Of course, everyone left wanting more discussion…and more falafel!

To get more involved in ViZionYLD, please follow us on facebook: www.facebook.com/vizionyld

 

Bookmark and Share

Top Chef Chanukah: Chicago Sizzles

On December 10, ViZion Chicago, the American Zionist Movement’s Young Leadership division in Chicago, partnered with Temple Sholom’s 20’s and 30’s group to present Top Chef Chanukah. Two teams, the McAbees and the Oilers, competed to cook the most delicious latke this side of the Atlantic.  Well known for their expertise in food and Jewish holidays, Rabbi Shoshana Conover, Temple Sholom’s assistant rabbi; Bryan Gryka; chef at Milt’s BBQ for the Perplexed; and Guy Hollingsworth, President of AZM Chicago, judged the latke entries.

Teams were provided with the secret ingredients zucchini, sugar, and cayenne pepper, and they wasted no time being creative in their recipes. Though the McAbees impressed everyone with their latkes topped with crème fraiche, sautéed onions, and balsamic vinegar, the Oilers won over the judges with their Shnitke, a combination of schnitzel and latke, and their menorah-shaped latkes. Winners received a gift certificate to new, local kosher restaurant Milt’s BBQ for the Perplexed and the runners-up received free entry to the December 14 Shabbaton in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.

Next month, ViZion Chicago hosts stand-up comedian Joel Chasnoff as he discusses the many sides of Zionism. And keep an eye out for an upcoming film series! Click here for more information.

Bookmark and Share

Seeds of a State: A Staged Reading of Zionist Texts

photo from the first Zionist CongressSeeds of a State: A Staged Reading of Zionist Texts

 Since you probably missed it the first time….

Join AZM Chicago for a Zionist Congress redux

Sunday, August 19 | Temple Emanuel*

6:30 PM| $12 in advance/$15 at the door

Buy your ticket now

*Temple Emanuel, 5959 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago, Illinois

Parking Available at the Temple Parking Lot

Bookmark and Share