Archives for August 2014

AZM and WZO Co-Sponsor Technion’s Robotics Competition

Robotics logo sml

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

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.