Archives for February 2017

Meet the HBR Scholarship Spring 2017 Recipients

The American Zionist Movement is pleased to announce the winners of the Spring 2017 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund. The recipients are talented young Americans and passionate Zionists, who are excited and thrilled to spend more time living and working in Israel this year.

 

Aaron Friedman-Heiman

Aaron graduated last year from Tulane University last year with a Bachelor’s DegreeAaron Headshot (1) in Political Science and Environmental Studies. As a student on campus he was involved with AEPI and Hillel, where he volunteered his time to start and lead a community garden initiative on campus. A passionate Zionist, Aaron is excited to spend a semester in Israel and experience daily life firsthand before possibly making Aliyah in the future. He will be interning at the Arava Institute of Environmental Studies in the south of Israel. Aaron says “Israel is much more than our religious and cultural capital. To many, including myself, Israel is our voice.” He has advanced Hebrew language skills and is eager to improve his Hebrew even more.

Read Aaron’s essay on his connection to Zionism

Chelsea Manoff

photo (1) (1)Chelsea graduated with a Master of Science in Globalization and Development Communication from Temple University. She will also be interning at the Arava Institute in Kibbutz Ketura in southern Israel.

She sees the transformation in Israel, particularly in sustainable agriculture, as an extremely fascinating and focal study point. She is very excited to learn more from the guiding professors at Arava. She wishes to use this internship as a stepping point towards a career in agricultural development and of personal development by connecting with her Jewish heritage. She plans to combine her interest in sustainable development with her background in horticulture, by helping farmers in developing countries become more sustainable and successful.

Read Chelsea’s essay on her connection to Zionism

Jesse Medina

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 7.37.11 AMJesse hails from Michigan, and holds a B.A in Science, Technology and Society from Pomona College. A strong advocate for Israel in many spheres. He was actively involved through his work with Hillel on campus, and with Magen David Adom, where he volunteered in Israel in the summer of 2012. He has also been an attendee at AIPAC policy conferences. Jesse writes that Israel “is a wonderland of spirituality and innovation alike, with Jews from all walks of life that accept each other as brethren. This is a type of acceptance and love that is incredibly difficult to find replicated outside of the international Jewish community. This is the true Zionism definition of Zionism and why it is so important.”

He will be interning for Social Finance Israel, an innovator in the implementation of Social Impact Bonds to drive socioeconomic progress in areas of social and economic crises. He hopes to gain insight from this internship to learn and understand more about Israeli innovations and policies, and is greatly looking forward to being able to bring back new skills to the United States.

Read Jesse’s essay on his connection to Zionism

Jon Atkins

02/10/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - Carer Fair LinkedIn Headshots on February 11, 2016. (Evan Sayles for Tufts University)

Jon attended Tufts University where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. He visited Israel on a Birthright trip during college, which served as a catalyst for developing a strong connection to the land and its culture. Upon his return, he became much more involved with Jewish life and Zionist conversations on campus. He worked with Tufts Hillel to help make Birthright trips more appealing to fellow students. He was also actively involved with JStreet’s chapter at Tufts. Though he recognizes the complexity of Israel, he mentions that “ the issue of Zionism is integral to any Jewish community and I know it will forever be a part of my life and everyday discourse.”

He is extremely excited to return to Israel and will spend 5 months in Jerusalem interning at Achvat Amim – Solidarity of Nations, part of Hashomer Hatzair. The program aims to help participants understand and work to bridge divides that exist in Israeli communities.

Read Jon’s essay on his connection to Zionism

Lynette Hacopian

Me (1)Lynette hold a B.S. In Environmental Economics and Politics from U.C. Berkeley, and was very involved with Tikvah Students for Israel on campus, as well as Chabad. She interned for almost a year at the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco. Lynette’s connection to Israel grew much stronger following Gaza war of 2014. Having witnessed extreme anti-Israel sentiment on campus, she led Zionist activities through Tikvah, participated in campaigns, and silent protests such as “Cut the Tape” against those promoting BDS on campus. She will be interning at the Arava Institute and is excited to get a better understanding of the conflict and the region, and especially to learn more about environmental issues in Israel. She is also excited to improve her Hebrew.

Read Lynette’s essay on her connection to Zionism

 

Sarene Shaked

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 7.29.47 AMSarene is currently a student at Cornell University and will be spending her spring semester at Tel Aviv University. At Cornell she served as the Israel Awareness Chair of Hillel’s Executive Board, AIPAC Liaison, as well as a CAMERA Fellow and Israel Intern. Through these positions, she organized numerous events on campus while doing her best to serve as a “symbol of Israeli and Jewish pride.”

She hopes to develop a greater connection to Israel on a personal level, and find professional opportunities to weave her interest in psychology with social justice and conflict resolution.

 

Read Sarene’s essay on her connection to Zionism

A Purim to Remember: Celebrating Life With Holocaust Survivors

azm purim social mediaMarch 2017/ Adar 5777

Dear Friends,

It is almost Adar which means Purim is a close at hand.  Purim is a celebration commemorating one of many stories of Jewish survival against all odds.  The recent surge in antisemitism has us reflecting on the past, reinforcing the urgency to remember the 6,000,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust and learn from those who went on to build inspiring lives.  “Never forget” was our commitment, so this Purim we ask you to join AZM’s campaign to remember and celebrate life with some of the Shoah’s last survivors.

Please dedicate this Purim to helping survivors feel cherished, join the American Zionist Movement (AZM) in “A Purim to Remember: Celebrating Life with Survivors of the Holocaust”.

The “Purim Connection”, initiated 30 years ago by AZM was a trailblazer program designed to bring Purim joy to often neglected soldiers.  Past recipients of this initiative included the Jerusalem border patrol, children under missile fire in Sderot, Ethiopian olim, and women and children in shelters.  This year Children in costume on Purim in the Landsberg DP camp, Germany, 1947-1948the AZM has partnered with The Israel Forever Foundation and Yad Ezra V’Shulamit to build a bridge between American Jews and Holocaust survivors.

On March 8, 2017, we will host  festive Purim events in Jerusalem and around the country for survivors and volunteers.  Together, we will package mishloach manot (Purim baskets) to be delivered to survivors.

Every gift of $18 will provide one Holocaust survivor with a basket.  How many baskets will you sponsor? Each gift counts and even a small donation will help a survivor feel supported.

As always, all components will be purchased from small Israeli businesses.  Please order your mishloach manot baskets today.

Donate online and include a personal message for survivors https://www.azm.org/purim2017 or mail a check to: American Zionist Movement, 40 Wall Street, Suite #706, New York, NY 10005.

Please help us make this Purim a special one for Israel’s survivors and help us build bridges of understanding between our communities.

We thank you for your support.

Prof. David Passig– Leading Israel Futurist– To Headline Biennial

passigProfessor David Passig, leading Israeli futurist, received his degree in anticipatory anthropology from the University of Minnesota. He specializes in technological futures, as well as social and educational futures. An Associate Professor at Bar-Ilan University, Passig heads the Virtual Reality Laboratory at the School of Education.

In what promises to be a challenging and exciting presentation, Passig will pose questions such as “does Israel need to establish a new national mission in order to survive?” Much of what he will say defies the usual expectations of those who prognosticate the future of Israel and the Jewish People.

Later, Sunday afternoon, the Assembly will grapple with critical issues facing the Zionist Movement.  Dr. Sylvia Barak Fishman will address the questions ” Israel: Center, Partner or Theme Park,” and Rabbi Josh Weinberg on “Why Zionism is Not a Four-Letter Word.”

The evening will feature a celebratory dinner honoring Karen Rubinstein who will be ending her nearly forty years of service to American Zionism.

On Monday, the Assembly will turn inward, inviting people to imagine the implementation of AZM’s new strategic plan and struggling with the ways to give substance to the plan to address major issues facing Zionism.

A thanks and farewell to Rabbi Vernon H. Kurtz for his four years as president of AZM in which he guided the organization through the future planning and the selection of a new Executive Director.

To see the draft program, please visit here

 

 

 

 

AZM Biennial Assembly and Celebratory Dinner- March 5-6

azm-biennial-final-copy2

 

AZM’s 12th Biennial Assembly,March 5- 6, 2017, is just around the corner.   A new president and a new administration will be installed.  AZM will say its thanks to Rabbi Vernon Kurtz and the other officers who served over the past 4 and half years. In addition, AZM will say “farewell” to Karen Rubinstein after almost 40 years of service.

Leading Israeli future, Dr. David Passig of Bar Ilan University, will present a challenging and provocative address to set the stagepassig for the Biennial; and for the future of the Zionist Movement in the United States.  Dr. Passig got his PhD in Anticipatory Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He is the author of 2048  (English) published in May 2010 and Forcognito (Hebrew only at this time.)  In addition to Dr. Passig there will be ample opportunity to sample program offerings from Departments of the WZO, and to debate and discuss the AZM Strategic Plan and directions for the future.

The dinner will feature Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations., as well as others who have worked with Karen over the years.

Member organizations are asked to send representatives, but this event is open to the public and anyone who wishes come for the entire biennial, or for the Sunday night dinner alone is most welcome.  Please visit this page to make your biennial reservations.  

To register for the dinner and place an ad in the journal, visit this page.

As more details are available we will post them.  We urge you to register now and participate in what promises to be an exciting, informative and fun event.

To download and print outAZM Journal and Dinner Pledge Form