Hebrew Comes to The Forefront of Jewish Education



 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
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Israel Programs Expo — Education Reimagined


EXPO Logo EYEThe first edition of the Israel Programs Expo will be showcasing the latest educational, academic, cultural and other innovative programs available to enrich Israel initiatives in your community. The exhibitors  in the Expo, will be either tabling to present their offerings, or doing short presentations as previews for their programs. They will be covering every aspect of Israel programming from instructional materials, technology products, language learning, and more. It will be the perfect chance to find out about all of the different Israel related initiatives available to local communities in the Tri-State area.

The Expo is intended for people active in their communities and professionals who are responsible for creating Israel-related programming in their schools, communities, synagogues, or other institutions. Attendees will be able to experience the innovative programs available to them, while engaging one-on-one with the sponsors and exhibitors.


To take part in this great opportunity, please register here.



Israel Expo 11:30:15

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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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Elections to the 37th World Zionist Congress Votes Are In and Delegate Numbers Allocated

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“The World Zionist Congress is the single best opportunity for American Jews to have its voice heard on critical issues facing Israel and the Jewish People” said Rabbi Vernon Kurtz, President of the American Zionist Movement; and the voice has spoken.

Now that the elections have closed and the votes have been counted, 145 new delegates from the US will participate in the upcoming    the upcoming congress.  Elections for the World Zionist Congress ran from January through April and came to a close with a total of 56,737 votes.  At the top with the highest number of seats: ARZA with 56 delegates, Mercaz with 25 and Vote Torah (AMIT, B’nei Akiva and RZA)  with 24.  While ARZA maintained their delegate count since the previous election, Mercaz and Mizrachi have lost a combined 18 delegates.  Despite this decrease, the three major religious streams still hold over 70% of the seats of the American delegation.

Two new slates vied for seats at the Congress during this election, Ohavei Zion, winning 4 seats, and Alliance for New Zionist Vision, which won 2.

Below is the count by slate, and the distribution of the 145 delegates for the election of American Delegates to the 37th World Zionist Congress.

ARZA -Representing Reform Judaism 21,766 56
Mercaz USA: Zionist Arm of the Conservative Movement 9.890 25
Vote Torah: Religious Zionists 9,594 24
American Forum for Israel 3,773 10
HATIKVAH-The progressive Zionist Voice 3,148 8
Zionist Organization of America/ZOA Defend Jews & Israeli rights 2,738 7
Zionist Spring: Restoring Vision to World Zionism 2,696 7
World Sephardic Organization – Ohavei Tsion 1,650 4
Alliance for New Zionist Vision 735 2
Green Israel: Aytzim/Green Zionist Alliance/Jewcology 443 1
Herut North America -The Jabotinsky Movement 304 1

“Those who cast their votes in this election became part of a great historical continuum, and are now personally involved in crafting the future of the Jewish State,” said Judge Abraham Gafni, the chairman of the US Area Election Committee, which oversees the elections in the United States.  “I am excited by the tremendous energy that has been displayed towards the commitment to Israel’s future.”

Although the Congress represents all of world Jewry, the US historically sends the second largest delegation to participate in the Congress, which offers the best opportunity for ideological parties to grow.  This potential growth means positions in the WZO and increased budget spending in those departments.

This year’s election saw an overall broadening of representation of Zionist groups and, as a result, slates such as Hatikvah, Zionist Spring and the ZOA gained seats at the table.

Though the US elections have concluded, there are other countries currently running elections. All elections must be completed at least three (3) months prior to the opening of Congress.  In Israel the Knesset elections provide the key to representation of Zionist parties at the Congress. The US delegation looks forward to productive meetings with their Zionist counterparts from around the world, in the hopes of creating a stronger Zionist movement.

The 37th World Zionist Congress is scheduled to take place October 20-22, 2015, in Jerusalem, Israel.


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AZM Celebrates Israel at the 2015 Parade Amidst 50,000 Marchers


On Sunday May 31st the Empire State Building announced the Israel festivities by illuminating the colors of the Israeli flag. By the mid-morning, Fifth Avenue was filled with over 50,000 individuals marching in solidarity to celebrate and support the State of Israel. Jewish organizations, synagogues, schools, and yeshivas from all streams of Judaism and widely ranging ideological perspectives all joined together to show their exuberance and love for Israel and the Jewish People.  Those in attendance chanted various Israeli tunes, and a combination of old Zionist and contemporary Israeli songs filled the air.

The American Zionist Movement was again a proud sponsor of a Parade float and marched with signs and banners communicating this year’s theme, “Israel Imagines”. A theme which speaks to the vibrancy and creativity of modern Israel.   AZM’s own twist on the parade theme was “Take pride in our past. Just imagine our future”. Our float highlighted this idea by focusing on the innovations of traditional Zionism, in particular, the Kibbutzim and its pioneering immigrants, while marchers referenced contemporary Israel’s hi-tech contributions and humanitarian values.  Overall the AZM theme focused on the progress Israel has made in developing from an agricultural society to a modern high-tech hub. With a little imagination, it is indeed easy to foresee what Israel could become in the next years.

Our participating member organizations also had a thrilling time. They constituted a considerable marching group, demonstrating how the Parade was a gathering of Israeli pride, excitement, and joy. The collective celebration included participants from AMIT, Ameinu, B’nai B’rith, Emunah of America, Habonim Dror, Hadassah, Hashomer Hatzair, Hebrew Tabernacle, Mercaz, and Or Shalom.

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AZM Biennial Assembly on Sunday, December 7, 2014

Save-the-date-AZM (3)The American Zionist Movement will host its Biennial Assembly on Sunday, December 7, 2014, at UJA Federation in Midtown Manhattan. The event will feature a review of internal AZM matters, a discussion of upcoming AZM and the World Zionist Organization programs and an update on the elections to the Zionist Congress.

​Professor Theodore Sasson of Brandeis University will deliver the keynote address about The New American Zionism. His remarks will be couched within his recent analysis of American Jewry’s Relationship to Israel before and after this summer’s Gaza War. He will address such questions as “Did Hamas rocket fire galvanize the world’s largest diaspora community and strengthen its connection to the Jewish state? Or did Israel’s tough military response divide American Jewish opinion and alienate the younger generation? In this lecture, Professor Sasson will present new evidence concerning American Jews’ responses to the Gaza war, and discuss general trends in their relationship to Israel.

Sasson’s broader findings, reported in his recent book, The New American Zionism, challenge the widespread notion that American Jews are distancing themselves from Israel.

Registration is required for the Biennial. There will be a fee of $50 for delegates and $25 for delegates under the age of 30.

Visit here to see the Program Registration will begin at 11:30 and the program will begin at 12:00 Noon. The Biennial will be held at New York UJA-Federation, 130 East 59th Street in New York City.

​Those attending the Biennial are also encouraged to stay for the regional meeting of the Zionist General Council, which follows the Biennial. That meeting will discuss programmatic opportunities, relations between the WZO and its diaspora constituents, and plans for Congresses and beyond.


Register for the Biennial here.

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Attend WZO’s International Bible Competition

There is no book that expresses the diversity of our values as a people more than the Bible.

The International Bible Competition is a golden opportunity to reconnect with our roots, to return to our values and strive for excellence.

If you love the Book of Books, the World Zionist Organization and the American Zionist Movement invite you to attend the International Bible Contest for Adults and be amazed by the competitors’ knowledge of the Bible.


Attend the Competition


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AZM and WZO Co-Sponsor Technion’s Robotics Competition

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The American Zionist Movement is partnering with the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Activities in Israel to sponsor the Technion’s Robotraffic Robotics competition, organized with the Leumi Robotics Center at the Technion in cooperation with World ORT. The competition will foster robotics education and traffic safety as well as educate about correct driving behavior. The largely Israeli competition has also recruited several teams from Ukraine and South America, and in March 2014 an all-girls team from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, won the Careful Driving award. This year, thanks to efforts by WZO and AZM, there will be entrants from the United States. Teams sent from the US via the Zionist Movement will also be treated to a 3-day program in Israel to visit major sites and to be exposed to the Israeli hi-tech industry. 

A limited number of schools in the US will be invited to create a team of students for the 2015 competition. Their challenge will be to build an autonomous robocar that can move according to traffic rules (traffic lights and signals) while keeping a safe distance from other cars and obstacles and avoiding accidents. 

The WZO is seeking schools with strong science departments interested in fielding a team. For more information about the contest in the US, please contact Einav Gelberg at einav.ogi@gmail.com.

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Helyn B. Reich Scholarship Recipients, Fall 2014

Meet the Recipients

The American Zionist Movement awarded seven exceptional candidates with the Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship for Fall 2014. The winners are proud Zionists and intend to do their utmost to promote and support the State of Israel.

Rose BayerRose Bayer will be volunteering as an EMT for Magen David Adom while in Israel with MASA’s Career Israel program. Her commitment to Israel is so strong that she extended her time there before even starting the program.

Rose plans to become a doctor and believes working hands on in the medical field before attending medical school is crucial to the learning process. The experience she will gain from working in Israel specifically, she says, will prepare her to interact with immigrants and foreign patients at later stages in her career as well as provide her with a different perspective of health care.

Rose’s love of helping others shines through in her outlook on Zionism. “Zionism is an unconditional love and support for not just a nation, but also a people,” she said.

Read Rose Bayer’s essay.


Erica BergsteinErica Bergstein is excited to spend 10 months in Israel with the Israel Government Fellows program, affiliated with the Menachem Begin Heritage Center. She hopes that her internship in a governmental office will advance her leadership skills as well as provide new and deep connections with Jews and Israelis from all backgrounds. Erica is active in her local Jewish community in Baltimore and, after her immersion in Jewish history and culture while in Israel, intends to be a resource for others when she returns to the United States.

With a Master’s Degree in Emergency Health and her related experience in that field, Erica believes she is uniquely qualified to work in the Israeli government and will gain insight on how Israel deals with the challenges it faces to ensure the State’s safety and security.

“A state like none-other, the Zionist movement has allowed Israel to be the homeland for Jews all over the world…” she said. “However, it is evident that this would not be possible without the groundwork and function of the Israeli government.”

Read Erica Bergstein’s essay.


Samuel CrystalSamuel Crystal has been fascinated by the history of the Land and people of Israel since he was young. Fittingly, he will be interning at an Israeli government office or similar organization through MASA’s Israel Government Fellows program.

Samuel’s love of archeology and history has inspired him to learn more about politics and lobbying, and he would like to work in a related field when he returns to the United States. “I see [Israel] as the land my ancestors died for, a safe haven, and a fascinating window into the ancient lives of the Jewish people, as well as many other cultures,” he said.

Read Samuel Crystal’s essay.


Tamara GavrilovThrough MASA’s Career Israel program, Tamara Gavrilov will be putting her legal expertise to good use when she works as a Foreign Law Clerk for Judge Daphne Barak-Erez of the Supreme Court of Israel. As an attorney, Tamara is looking forward to the opportunities she’ll have to practice legal research as well as to learn more about the political dynamics in Israel.

An attorney specializing in Tamara has been an active supporter of Israel since high school. She advocates for Israel  and related causes through diverse methods ranging from legal action to fundraisers to skydiving. “Zionism …[gave me] a sensation of personal responsibility, as both a Jew and a citizen of the world, that I continue to carry with me today,” she said.

Read Tamar Gavrilov’s essay.


Lindsay GordonTo add new experiences to her love of the environment, Lindsay Gordon will be working at the Zalul Environmental Association in Israel through MASA’s Career Israel program. There, she will both advance her professional goals as well as attend seminars, take an Ulpan class, volunteer, and travel around Israel.

Since she first visited Israel on her Birthright trip, Lindsay has felt a connection to Israel and has had a strong desire to return there. She is excited to do her part to support Zionism and believes there are endless opportunities to grow and learn as a Zionist. “Zionism is to embrace Judaism; to represent all that Jewish People have accomplished centuries and millennia before us and build upon those accomplishments with confidence and pride despite obstacles,” she said.

Read Lindsay Gordon’s essay.


Bailey_MezanThis fall, Bailey Mezan will be participating in the MASA Career Israel program, working at the Israeli Society for Preservation of Israel Heritage Sites. In keeping with her love of activism, her position there will allow her to conserve, rehabilitate, and promote sites that present Israel’s modern history.

On her first trip to Israel, Bailey was amazed at how open everyone was about their Judaism. She realized that we must fight for the recognition of Israel so that Jews will always be able to express their religion and continue to thrive. “Being a Zionist means never again allowing the Jews to dissolve into another nation; for we will never be the same as the rest of the world,” she said.

Read Bailey Mezan’s essay.


Hannah SouthworthDespite growing up in a small town in New Hampshire with very few Jews, Hannah Southworth has embraced Judaism and her relationship to Israel. She will be working in Tel Aviv at a women’s health-related organization through the WUJS Intern Tel Aviv program, taking advantage of her background in women’s health and non-profit administration.

Hannah is a trained Doula and wants to have a career in midwifery. She hopes to attend births in Israel and to record women’s birth stories. Hannah believes that learning about women’s care and births in Israel will provide her with invaluable experience as a health care provider, no matter which country she works in.

Hannah wants to spend her career helping to enhance the birth experience for Jewish women. “I believe that being a Zionist today means that I should give back to the community that gave so much to me,” she said.

Read Hannah Southworth’s essay.


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