Archives for 2013

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

Conference on Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism

On December 8, join the American Zionist Movement, the World Zionist Organization and the Consulate General of Israel in New York City to explore Antisemitism today, how it manifests itself and ask whether anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism. Featured speakers include author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, US Special Envoy Ira Forman, Deputy Minister of Defense MK Danny Danon,  and Israeli actress Mili Avital.

To see the program: DRAFT PROGRAM 

To register: REGISTER (no longer accepting online registrations. You can register on Sunday at 130 E.59th Street)

This program will be live streamed. Visit the iZionist site for more details on the day of the program.








AZM Hosts Critical Conference on Zionism

As part of its ongoing mission to strengthen American Jews with Israel, the American Zionist Movement hosted a two-day conference about Zionism, designed to create dialogue and drive action. The conference, “Zionism: From Ideology to Action, Israeli and North American Perspectives,” was held on October 20-21 at the DoubleTree Hotel at Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey.

The conference joined representatives from many of AZM’s diverse constituent groups with members of the local Jewish community to debate, discuss and deliberate the meaning of Zionism. Several elements related to Zionism were addressed, with each session based on a theme: what Zionism means to me, how to make it relevant today, if and how Israel is still central to Jewish lives and creating and sending a message about Zionism to others.

Attendees were roused by the many distinguished guests who spoke at the conference, providing varied but comprehensive views about their approach to Zionism. Ambassador Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, opened the conference. Several Zionist thinkers, including renowned authors Professor Gil Troy and Yossi Klein Halevi, provided stimulating discourse in discussions and participated in panels. Professor Steven Cohen shared the results of the 2013 Pew Study on Religion in Public Life, illuminating the procedures of the study as well as what the results mean for the Jewish community.

“It was an outstanding, remarkable, valuable, educational experience,” said Judy Shapiro, Coordinator of Jewish Heritage, New York.



Parashat Noah

Beautiful-Water-Clouds-21 The Torah portion Noah describes how Noah, at God’s commandment, builds an ark to save his family and two of each animal as God send a flood to purge the world of its violence. Green Zionist Alliance considers Noah to be the first environmental activist, and has numerous resources about how to use Jewish teachings to help improve the planet, available here.

Read more about Green Zionist Alliance’s take on Shabbat Noah here.


Cafe Ivrit Yoga Edition – Alef Bet Yoga!

Register now!

cafe ivrit october with location

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.

Moynihan’s Moment by Professor Gil Troy

Moynihans Moment Hardcover 300dpiGil Troy is a leading political historian, and one of today’s most prominent activists in the fight against the delegitimization of Israel. He is Professor of History at McGill University in Montreal, and a Research Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Professor Troy’s articles have been published in The New York Times, The New Republic, and other major media outlets. He writes a weekly column for The Jerusalem Post, and is Editor-at-Large of the “Open Zion” blog on The Daily Beast. Professor Troy is the author of eight books, including biographies of Ronald Reagan and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In his newest book, Moynihan’s Moment, which was just published by Oxford University Press, Professor Troy combines his expertise in American history with his passion for Israel. Moynihan’s Moment tells the previously untold story of the 1975 UN resolution that called Zionism a form of racism, and the remarkable fight–led by legendary statesman Daniel Patrick Moynihan–to prevent its passage. Jewish Ideas Daily included Moynihan’s Moment in its list of the Best Jewish Books of 2012. Elie Wiesel has called it “superb,” and has said that “it demonstrates [Gil Troy’s] power of critical analysis as well as his commitment to what is eternal and noble in Jewishness.”

Buy now for $20.00

To learn more about Gil Troy, please visit

Zionism: From Ideology to Action: Israeli and American Perspectives

Program in Development  ||  Register Now



Please visit our registration page

Download a PDF of the flyer for further distribution

Download a JPG of the flyer for further distribution


Zionism: From Ideology to Action, Sunday-Monday, October 20-21, 2013

Purchase Zionist Books and Gifts

The American Zionist Movement is proud to offer a selection of Zionist books and gifts for sale that will enrich your connection to Israel and the Jewish people in fun and unique ways. Purchase them now!


Posters from Pre-State and Early Israel

To see the full selection and to order posters, visit here.









Zionist Notecards

To order notecards, visit here.









Zionist Action Figures

Fun figures of David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir and Theodor Herzl.

To order action figures, visit

Use coupon code AZM2013 for a 5% discount!

ben gurionherzl figure2golda meir







Moynihan’s Moment By Professor Gil Troy

To learn more about Professor Troy and to order his book, visit here.

Moynihans Moment Hardcover 300dpi








The 188th Crybaby Brigade By Joel Chasnoff

To learn more about comedian Joel Chasnoff and to order his book, visit his website at

crybaby brigade








Cloisonne Flag Pins

To order flag pins, visit here.





A Shanah Tovah Message From Rabbi Vernon Kurtz

The period okurtz-croppedf the High Holy Days is a time of introspection and meditation. While we Jews do not necessarily make New Year resolutions, it is helpful to stand back to see how we have done this past year as we challenge ourselves to improve in the coming year.

From the point of the work of the American Zionist Movement we need to ask ourselves the following questions: Have we strengthened our bond to Zion, to the State of Israel, to the Jewish people around the world this past year? Have we taken upon ourselves the responsibility to learn Hebrew, the language of our heritage and our people? Have we been ambassadors for the State of Israel in the communities in which we live and in the organizations we populate? No matter what our politics, Israel needs good ambassadors. Have we reached out to our brothers and sisters in the State of Israel and around the world, showing our love for the people of Israel wherever they may be? Have we visited Israel this past year?

In all of these areas I am sure that even if we can answer in the affirmative, we can always make improvements. The role of AZM is to assist in implementing these challenges in our lives, in the lives of our institutions, organizations and communities. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur impress upon us the fact that we can always do better. The New Year is a new beginning: “Hayom Harat Olam – Today the world stands as at birth.” Each of us is given a new opportunity as the New Year commences. I hope we take advantage of it.

I ask you to challenge yourselves on these matters and work together with AZM to create a bond between Jews living in the Diaspora and Jews living in the State of Israel. We are ultimately one people with one past and one common future.

I pray that as we hear the sounds of the shofar this Rosh Hashanah that it may herald a time of peace and tranquility for our land, for the State of Israel, for the Jewish people and for all humanity. My best personal wishes to you and yours for a happy, healthy, and fulfilling 5774. Shana tova


Rabbi Vernon Kurtz

President AZM

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.


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