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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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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In Three Minutes You Can Effect Change In Israel

vernon featured imageBeing president of the American Zionist Movement (AZM), I understand how Zionism has different meanings and emotions depending on one’s relationship with Israel.

However, I cannot stress enough, as Jewish Americans, regardless of our definition, that it is our right and opportunity to vote on behalf of Israel. The more votes America has, the stronger our voice can be heard for Israel and for Zionism.



With the State of Israel besieged on many sides, with the current state of relationships between the State of Israel and the United States administration, with the concern of the general public whether we still care about the State of Israel and its survival, here’s our opportunity to take a stand.

The Zionist elections allow us to voice our opinions on many issues. From the left to the right politically, from the right to the left religiously, including all religious streams and political points of view, there is surely one of the 11 slates that will speak to you.

As the media and political pundits analyze the strength of the philanthropic dollars to Israel as a measure of support by American Jews of their brothers and sisters of Israel, they will do the same as they analyze the number of voters who take the opportunity to express their democratic privilege in these elections. Whatever slate meets your religious, political or cultural needs, I encourage you to take a stand on behalf of the State of Israel and its centrality to American Jewish life. Your vote matters.


The WZC is the outstretched arm and the supreme organ of the World Zionist Organization (WZO), where once the main goal was to establish a legally assured home in the land of Israel for the Jewish people. Now, the issues are embedded in the Jerusalem Program (see below) which focuses on matters of: unity of the Jewish people and the connection to Israel, fighting anti-Semitism, creating a democratic and egalitarian multifacted state according to the vision of the prophets, education and more.


Israel needs the Diaspora more than ever before and the Diaspora needs Israel. It is a partnership we cannot negate and must value for now and future generations.


This vote is our opportunity to join the conversation and participate in the global Jewish voting process. The choice of what slate you will vote for is, of course, entirely up to you. What’s important is the act of voting itself.



1. Go directly to the page www.Myselfourisrael.com

2. Register and accept the “Jerusalem Program” (see below for explanation)*

3. Pay $10 ($5 for those ages 18 to 30)

4. Vote


Voting ends April 30, 2015. I encourage you to take three minutes, raise your voice for Israel, join in the conversation and help make a difference in shaping Israel’s future.


*The “Jerusalem Program” is the shared vision of all organizations and institutions of WZO and includes amongst its principles:


- Unity of the Jewish people and the connection to Israel

- A democratic and multifaceted state according to the vision of the prophets

- Aliyah and settlement in Israel

- The centrality of Israel to the Jewish world

- Dissemination of Jewish culture and education

- Hebrew Language

- Fighting anti-Semitism

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Elections to the 37th World Zionist Congress — Vote Today


The elections to the World Zionist Congress offer a unique opportunity for the global Jewish community to have its voice heard on issues of concern.  Here is in the United States the elections will field 11 slates, including two newly qualified slates.

Slates will be competing for the 145 delegates of the 500 elected delegates to the Zionist Congress. The slates reflect the tremendous diversity of the Zionist Movement, both ideologically and Jewish practice with organizations spanning the political spectrum from right to left, and including the Jewish religious streams.

Organizers are putting out a general call to all American Jews who care about Israel and World Jewry to register and vote. They also invite participants to post their own photo and send the message that this is a personal act, important to the totality of the Jewish People, and seeking to promote their vision for Israel’s Future.

Register and vote today.

Visit now  and post your picture and tell the world why you voted.


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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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Operation Protective Edge – Resources and Materials

flag The American Zionist Movement expresses its concern and support for the welfare of our brothers and sisters in the State of Israel and for the soldiers who are currently involved on the battlefield. We encourage you to use the information below to show your solidarity with Israel, remain updated regarding what is happening in Israel, demonstrate your support and share with friends and colleagues accurate information about the situation.

Let us pray for better days as we continue to show our support for the people of Israel.


Tough Questions, Straight Answers (brochure)

Tough Questions, Straight Answers (with video clips)

Beit Ha’am (The People’s Army) – Operation Protective Edge

   The People’s Army English Version

   The People’s Army  Hebrew Version


The Gaza Conflict – Materials for the Educator

The David Project:
Discussion Guide and Understanding the Hamas Tunnels

The iCenter: Operation Protective Edge:
As the conflict in Israel continues, we are looking for ways to bring Israel to our learners by gathering relevant resources, collecting authentic stories, and providing useful frames for educators and learners.
Resources to Teach and Learn


Together We Win” Campaign

In collaboration with the online newspaper YNET, we call out to all supporters of Israel from across the world to express your solidarity with the citizens of Israel and the Machal Soldiers. Our slogan “Together we win” is derived from our belief in our cause. Email a picture of yourself, an Israeli flag, and the slogan “Together we win” to Eitan at the WZO.  The pictures will be featured on a special YNET feature.  Also, please post your photos to social media sites using the hashtag #togetherwewin.

Advocacy on the Internet
A selection of sites and resources for education and advocacy available on the internet.

Advocacy During Operation Protective Edge
A collection of articles, guides and other resources about Operation Protective Edge.

Hadassah: National Action Center
Send messages directly to Congress and the White House in support of Israel.


Minister of Public Diplomacy

Israel Defense Forces Blog: http://www.idfblog.com

Israel has recently launched a 24-hour English news television station: www.i24news.tv/en/tv/live.

Twitter List: Israel Under Fire

Twitter: IDF | Embassy of Israel

Facebook: IDF | Embassy of Israel

Conference of Presidents Daily Alerts

BICOM (Britain Israel Communications & Research Centre):  Sign up for daily alerts

Expert Speakers from the Israeli Consulate


Thursday, July 31 Miami Unites for Israel Rally 6:30pm (Eastern Time), Michael-Ann Russell JCC, 18900 NE 25th Ave., North Miami Beach, Florida

Tuesday, August 5 (Baltimore, MD): 9:00am – 5:00pm (Eastern Time) Vigil for Israeli Victims (location TBD)


WZO: Help us help others. The World Zionist Organization is organizing opportunities efforts to alleviate the anxiety of those subjected to the worst shelling in the south, buy providing communities with entertainment, free-of-charge program at the Herzl Museum, etc.  To make a tax-deductible donation in the United States, please click here, or send checks to the American Zionist Movement, indicating that the donation is for the WZO war relief efforts. Contribute now.

JNF Emergency Campaign
JNF seeks to raise $5,000,000 for its emergency campaign. In this time of crisis, Funds raised are being used for the following: to purchase mobile bomb shelters costing $30,000 each; additional fire trucks at a cost of $125,000 up to $250000 depending; operating the Sderot playground 24/7, providing programming to children in the Bedouin communities thru our partner Green Horizons to name just a few of the special initiatives.

Stop the Sirens (JFNA Emergency Campaign)
Stop the Sirens is a community-wide campaign responding to urgent needs in Israel. The fundraising effort is coordinated by Jewish Federations of North America on behalf of Federations across North America, and in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.  Contact your local Jewish Federation for more information or local initiatives.  To learn more, please visit us online.

MERCAZ USA: Neve Hanna Campaign
Neve Hanna Children’s Village, located in Kiryat Gat, has been regularly shelled by rockets from nearby Gaza.  Residents have been forced to spend most of their days and nights in shelters. The American Friends of Neve Hanna, through MERCAZ-USA, is bringing the children to a quiet area in the North of Israel. To donate to this campaign: call 212-533-2061 or pay online and indicate that it is the Neve Hanna Operation Protective Edge campaign

Ameinu in partnership with Dror Israel

Dror Israel has opened summer camps in the north for children from areas of the south hit hardest by rocket fire, and are also running activities for children and teens under safe conditions throughout Israel. In addition building on its  longtime educational partnership with the IDF, is providing lectures and other educational activities to soldiers on the importance of the military operation as defense of the state of Israel, in accordance with the laws of war, and in the spirit of Jewish and democratic values, rather than as an act of revenge, hatred and indiscriminate violence. To give to Dror Israel follow the link and designate your gift to Dror Israel to support these activities.

Support the IDF
There are a number of campaigns that support IDF soldiers in a variety of ways. We are listing a few lesser known initiatives here in which the donations go to soldiers; administrative costs are covered by an individual donor or volunteers do the work.

Get InVESTed in Our Boys Campaign
In coordination with commanding officers on the ground, funds are being raised to provide as many bullet proof vests as possible to provide for the soldiers engaged in combat.

Yashar L’Chayal Gaza Operation Emergency Fund
Yashar LaChayal brings soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces what they need when they need it.

Yashar LaChayal has developed relationships with IDF commanders around the country, and therefore they are quick to contact our representatives when their units or individual soldiers are in need of assistance.  But we do not wait to hear from them! Yashar LaChayal representatives are on the move, visiting IDF bases throughout Israel, on the borders and in remote locations, to see what the actual needs of our soldiers are.  Once we determine what is lacking, we set out to fill the gap.

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Frontline Operation Campaign
As the brave IDF soldiers destroy terror tunnels and root out Hamas from Gaza, let’s show them the support they have from around the world.  FIDF supplies the IDF soldiers on the frontlines with snack packages, toiletry kits, and undergarments kits.  Let’s help keep their minds focused on the battles and not their wellbeing needs.

For more information on how to become more actively involved with FIDF, please contact your local FIDF chapter, or visit www.fidf.org.

Standing Together
Our brave soldiers are once again at war, facing an enemy that has sworn to kill us. We are now collecting from our supporters so we can deliver food and cold drinks, water packs (called “shlukerim”) that hold more water than standard canteens, knee pads that wear out very quickly in the field, and underwear. Because you can never have enough underwear.



**The list above is provided by AZM should be used as reference only.  This list is not exhaustive and there are many other ways to help. While we have made every effort to vet the provided information appropriately, AZM is not responsible for the accuracy of the information on each site.  When determining where to make a donation, please do your own research.  AZM is not responsible for how donations are allocated by funds not managed directly by AZM. 

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