Archives for September 2017

Rosh Hashana Message 5778









AZM Rosh Hashana Message 5778






The Jewish high holidays are indeed a time for reflection and renewal. In that spirit the American Zionist Movement is entering 5778 with an emphasis on recognizing our roots and celebrating the importance of Zionism in Israel’s history and the future of the world Jewish community.

Zionism is the modern political movement rooted in the thousands-year-old determination of the Jewish people to return as a sovereign nation in Israel, our ancestral and indigenous homeland. In recent years, Zionism has been misrepresented and slandered by those who oppose the very existence of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Zionism is a cause and ideology deserving of universal support.  It should serve as inspiration to all oppressed minorities, but instead the good name of Zionism has been sullied.

This is a critical moment for Zionism, and solidarity with Israel is necessary in these difficult times.

Your gift to the AZM today will help fund programs supporting Zionism in America.

AZM, including 25 national Jewish organizations, represents American Zionists in the World Zionist Organization and works across a broad ideological, political and religious spectrum linking the American Jewish community together in support of Israel. Our member organizations engage in a variety of philanthropic, educational and advocacy activities on behalf of Israel, with a collective reach to millions of Americans with a diverse array of perspectives, but who all identify as Zionists.

AZM is committed to reclaiming the good name of Zionism! Israel is under ceaseless attack at our universities and on social media. Both bold and thinly veiled anti-Semitic tropes and libelous accusations are peddled under the guise of “Anti-Israelism”. This rhetoric is influencing our youth and the new face of anti-Semitism is spreading rapidly.  

Support of the AZM will help educate Americans on why they must support Zionism.

The truth is:  Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism deny the history and future of our people.  Support the American Zionist Movement in our quest to right this wrong and to proudly stand up for Israel and the Jewish People.

AZM spoke out publicly against attempts to conflate Zionism and White Supremacy last month. AZM is prepared to tackle the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement (BDS), and confront the issue of the exclusion of Jews from academic environments, parades and public discourse. Join us in our effort. 

AZM is the one organization in the United States where Zionists of all beliefs, ideologies, religious affiliations and viewpoints come together in unity on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.

We are taking a three pronged approach toward unifying the vision of modern Zionism. Education – to educate our youth on the history of the Jewish people, anti-Semitism and Zionism.  Unity – to engage in civil discourse and unify on our unique similarities that arise out of our faith, our principles, our teachings, and our obligation to be dignified and respectful to each other, rather than focus on our differences. Impact – to remind the world of the rich contributions that the Jewish people, Israel and Zionism have and continue to make on society.

Help to create a unified voice for Zionism, please join the AZM today.

The AZM recently implemented a new forum for dialogue with the Presidents and Executive Directors of AZM’s member organizations, an important step toward unification. Our first meetings were held this summer and are already leading to greater engagement and cooperation in the Zionist community. We are growing and strengthening our movement every day.

Read our just released “Six-Month 2017 Report of Activities and Achievements” – Here.

Support the American Zionist Movement in 5778.

In 2018, the AZM will mark a significant anniversary, as it was 25 years ago that we became the successor to the American Zionist Federation, which evolved from the American Zionist Council formed during the Holocaust to unite American Zionists to push for the creation of the State of Israel. In May 2017, to honor our predecessors and founders, we launched the “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” which will run through May 2018. In partnership with our member organizations and the broader Jewish community, we will conduct programs and events throughout the United States.  This work, these teachings, these efforts, require resources.  

This year we celebrate important Zionist Anniversaries:

  • 120 years since Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897;
  • 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued in November 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary;
  • 70 years since adoption of the United Nations Partition Resolution in November 1947;
  • 70 years since the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948; and
  • 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, our holiest City, following the Six Day War in June 1967;

Please help reclaim the good name of Zionism and celebrate AZM’s “Year of Zionist Anniversaries.”

This Fall, an “American Zionist Shabbat” series will launch, starting on October 28, 2017, to coincide with the Shabbat before the Balfour Declaration anniversary through December 2, 2017, the Shabbat after the Partition Resolution anniversary. We are preparing programming, lecture materials and arranging speaking opportunities with Rabbis and Community leaders across the spectrum of AZM’s organizations. Contact AZM to learn more.

We invite you to join our AZM Washington National Leadership and Policy Conference in Washington, DC on November 15-17, 2017, to be held in conjunction with the Department of Diaspora Affairs of the World Zionist Organization and the Balfour Initiative of The Israel Forever Foundation.  Join us at Congress for the “Celebrate Balfour 100 Symposium” The Conference is an important piece of our goal toward education, unity and impact. Join us.  Be thereParticipate.  Support us

Theodor Herzl said “If you will it, it is no dream; and if you do not will it, a dream it is and a dream it will stay”. The AZM continues to “will it” and is working hard to move “Zionism Forward”. We hope that you are excited about our progress, our activities and our commitment to renewing the good name of Israel, the Jewish People and Zionism.     

Your donation will help move “Zionism Forward” and help ensure Israel’s 70th is honored with dignity and pride.

Join UsStand UpSpeak Out for the good name of Zionism, Israel and the Jewish People

Please donate today in the spirit of the New Year.

Thank you,

Richard D. Heideman, President

Francine Stein, Chair

Marlene Post, Vice President

Herbert Block, Executive Director

Karen Rubinstein, Executive Director Emerita

download AZM 5778 Rosh Hashana Message

AZM 6 Month Report

AZM_RGB+Heb_ART - Copy (002)






September 2017




March – September 2017


This report is a compilation prepared by the President of AZM, Richard D. Heideman; Chair of the AZM National Board, Francine Stein; AZM Executive Director, Herbert Block; AZM Program Director, Alicia Post; and the AZM Leadership Cabinet.


AZM BIENNIAL ASSEMBLY & LEADERSHIP: At the AZM Biennial Assembly on March 5-6, 2017 in NYC, with 175 participants, new leadership for AZM was elected, including the following officers: Richard D. Heideman, President, Francine Stein, Chair of the AZM National Board; Marlene Post (VP for Fundraising Development), Paul Golomb (VP for Programs), Marilyn Wind (VP for Inter-Organizational Affairs) and Alan Silberman (VP for WZO Relations).  Each is in the process of building out their portfolios, including working with various Committees that have been or are in the process of being established.

AZM Executive Director, Herbert Block began in his role in March 2017, succeeding Karen Rubinstein, who was named Executive Director Emerita upon her retirement.  Alicia Post was named AZM Program Director in April 2017.

A video of Richard’s acceptance speech and written remarks as incoming President are available online. Click here for selected press links.    

AZM Treasurer Jim Schiller has revamped our fiscal accounting and reporting functions and will be  preparing an initial 2018 budget draft for early review by the AZM National Board at its November, 2017 meeting.

AZM Secretary, Shelley Sherman, has prepared extensive minutes of all the meetings of both the AZM National Board and the AZM Leadership Cabinet.


AZM LEADERSHIP CABINET:  The AZM Leadership Cabinet has met March 30, May 17, June 20, July 11 and is convening on September 14


AZM NATIONAL BOARD:  The AZM National Board met on March 6, June 5 and will next convene on September 14.


AZM PRESIDENTS & EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS:  We have convened meetings of the AZM Presidents & Executive Directors of the various member/affiliate/youth organizations.  This new forum, convened on June 5, July 11 and September 12, has proven valuable in exchanging ideas and in expanding the thinking on issues as we strive to address concerns of the various organizations within the spectrum of AZM.


PROGRAMS:  AZM has sponsored or participated in the following programs during the past six months; 


  • Yom Yerushalayim commemoration – MD (5/23)
  • Anniversary of Reunification of Jerusalem – Capitol Hill (5/17)
  • Yom Hazikaron & Yom Ha’atzmaut Flag Raising Ceremony – Bowling Green, NY (5/1/17)
  • Ambassadors Against BDS – UN (3/29)


YEAR OF ZIONIST ANNIVERSARIES:  AZM has announced and is pursuing activities in 2017-18 under the banner of the “Year of Zionist Anniversaries”, including the following. The program announcements can be found here:

  • 75 years since the convening of the Biltmore Conference in NY in May 1942;
  • 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, following the Six Day War, in June 1967;
  • 70 years since the journey of the Exodus refugee ship in August 1947;
  • 120 years since Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897;
  • 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued in November 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary;
  • 70 years since adoption of the United Nations Partition Resolution in November 1947;
  • 70 years since the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948


AZM WASHINGTON NATIONAL CONFERENCE:  AZM has announced its Washington National Conference, November 15-16-17, 2017, Zionism Forward in the Spirit of Balfour, which will be held in partnership with the Department for Diaspora Activities of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and the Balfour Initiative of the Israel Forever Foundation (IFF). 


AZM and WZO:  AZM is working closely with the WZO on multiple activities and recently hosted Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of the WZO as guest speaker at the AZM National Board Meeting; Esther Serok, WZO US Representative at the Herzl in the Park program; and Gusti Yehoshua Braverman, Chair of the Department of Diaspora Affairs of the WZO, at a special meeting of AZM Presidents, Executive Directors and Leadership.


AMERICAN ZIONIST SHABBAT:  AZM has announced the dates of October 28-December 2, 2017 for communities to hold an American Zionist Shabbat program, providing resource materials to Rabbis, AZM organizations, synagogues, schools and communal leaders so they can speak about Zionism during this period.


AZM COMMITTEES/TASK FORCES/WORKING GROUPS/INITIATIVES:  AZM has created, or is in the process of appointing, leaders to participate in various AZM Task Forces, Working Groups and Initiatives.  Interested leaders can self-nominate, or recommend others, to join the following groups being considered by the AZM Leadership Cabinet:

  • Communications and Website
  • Constitution (WZO and AZM)
  • Fundraising & Resource Development
  • Israel 70th Anniversary
  • Membership Outreach  (organizational and individual)
  • Policy Review & Issues
  • Programs and Events
  • Strategic Planning Implementation
  • Washington National Conference Planning
  • Youth Development, Young Leadership and Education
  • Zionist Shabbat Planning


AZM FUNDRAISING DEVELOPMENT:  For AZM to succeed, we must group our fundraising and development resources.  That means contributions, grants, bequests.  Please make your own contribution and solicit others.


AZM STRATEGIC PLANNING:  AZM adopted in September 2016 a new Strategic Plan.  AZM is following the plan in all respects and is updating the Strategic Plan as a working tool to guide our growth.


WZO RELATIONS: Under the leadership of the VP for WZO Relations AZM has been actively involved in discussions on possible revisions to the WZO Constitution and Regulations and has presented many items to the WZO for its consideration.  AZM has also been preparing for the upcoming Zionist General Council (Vaad HaPoel) meeting in Israel at the end of October in consultation with our organizations and others.


COMMUNAL ORGANIZATIONAL INVOLVEMENT: AZM leadership has participated in meetings of the following organizations of which it is a member: Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; AIPAC National Council; National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry; and, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.


MEETINGS and OUTREACH:   The new staff of AZM have been meeting individually with each of the 25 AZM constituent organizations in order to learn more about their work and how they can best be connected to programs and mission of AZM.  Staff have also met with many other national Jewish and pro-Israel organizations in order to brief them about AZM and connect our activities.  Staff have also begun to develop connections with colleagues at Zionist federations in countries across the world.


HELYN B. REICH Memorial SCHOLARSHIP FUND:  Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who choose to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or attend post-college long-term programs. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.  The latest class of award recipients was announced in September 2017.  Read more at:


AMERICAN ZIONIST YOUTH COUNCIL (AZYC): This initiative, funded by WZO and operated through AZM, brings together the leadership of the Zionist youth movements and other national Jewish youth organizations in America, for coordination of activities and joint programs.  You can read more on AZYC March Shabbaton here.


AZM LEADERSHIP MEMORANDA:  AZM has issued the following Leadership Memoranda to a broad list of AZM leaders from its Board, Zionist and Jewish organizations and other communal leaders:


PUBLIC STATEMENTS:  AZM has released various public statements on selected issues, including:

  • With Zionism Under Assault American Jewish and Israeli Dignitaries gathered in NYC to Celebrate the Birth of the Movement August 28, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • AZM Denounces Richard Spencer Calling Himself a “White Zionist” August 17, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • 75 Years after Historic Biltmore Conference, AZM Launches “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” May 11, 2017 | Read Full Text



On June 29th AZM sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding the controversy concerning the Kotel. The letter can be seen here;


PRESS INTERVIEWS AND COVERAGE:  We have had numerous press articles, listed here:  

AZM in the News

  • Celebrating the First Zionist Congress (Queens Chronicle) August 31, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • In KGH, Jewish Community Leaders Celebrate Herzl, 120th Anniversary Of First Zionist Congress (Queens Jewish Link) August 30, 2017 | Read Full Text | Click for Community Snapshots
  • Zionism Under Assault (New York Jewish Life) August 30, 2017 – Leaders Gather in NYC to mark the birth of a movement | Read Full Text
  • US Jewish leaders from right to left back metal detectors on Temple Mount ( July 21, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Moving Zionism Forward: A Conversation with the President of the American Zionist Movement (Patheos) June 15, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Jewish Survival Through Jewish Unity, Theme of New AZM President (JewishPress) May 17, 2017 – Heideman’s task will be to fashion unity from a widely-disparate consortium of Zionists | Read Full Text
  • Zionism Forward (JPost) April 25, 2017 – Why are American Jews so fazed by the question- Are you a Zionist? | Read Full Text
  • New AZM President (LIJW) March 31-April 6, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Four Questions: Herbert Block (New York Jewish Life) March 21, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Ex-Louisvillian elected president of AZM (Jewish Louisville) March 17, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • ‘News and analysis’ (The Chronicle of Philanthropy) March 10, 2017 – Grist and American Zionist Movement Name New Top Executives | Read Full Text
  • ‘Impact of BDS is worse than most people Realize’ (JPost) February 26, 2017 – Richard D. Heideman, one of the foremost legal experts on fighting the BDS movement, seeks to repair the tarnished name of Zionism | Read Full Text



The following additional announcements were sent by email to AZM’s contact list:

August 15 2017: Join us 8/28: Celebrate 120 years since Herzl\’s Zionist Congress:

July 18 2017: 70 Years Ago Today: Exodus Commemoration:

June 20 2017: Moving Zionism Forward:

June 2 2017: Celebrate Israel with AZM – Sunday, June 4th:

May 19 2017: Celebrate Jerusalem Day in Potomac, MD – May 23rd:

 Apr 27 2017: NY area Yom Hazikron & Yom Ha\’atzmaut Events:

Apr 26 2017: Zionism Forward, Today\’s Jerusalem Post:

Apr 06 2017: Passover Greetings, Zionism Forward:

Mar 23 2017: Join AZM at the UN on 3/29, Ambassadors Against BDS:




Meet the HBR Scholarship Fall 2017 Recipients

The Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1995 in memory of Helyn B. Reich, wife of founding AZM President Seymour D. Reich. Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who choose to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or attend post-college long-term programs. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.


The American Zionist Movement is excited to announce the recipients of the Fall 2017 Helyn B. Reich Memorial Scholarship Fund Award. The recipients are dedicated advocates for Israel who have demonstrated strong leadership skills on their respective campuses and Jewish communities. We truly believe that their tremendous work will greatly contribute to furthering the commitment of American Jews to Zionism upon their return to the United States, and we wish them the best of luck for their upcoming year in Israel.


Screen Shot 2017-09-10 at 11.01.25 PMEden Elimelech is a student at Drexel University and a soon to be graduate. She will intern in Israel through the Destination Israel program. She was very involved with various Jewish and Zionist organizations on campus, including Hillel and Chabad, where she served as student president of the latter. Zionism runs deep within Eden. In her own words: “for when parts of the world are no longer safe or welcoming for Jews, Israel will be that one beacon in the darkness like a lighthouse that will steer us away from rocky shores and to the one place where a Jew can be a Jew. Israel is not just my home or a home to the thousands of other Jews alive today.”

Read Eden’s essay on her connection to Zionism


14364855_10207280073780474_5466611046828700863_nJessica Kasmer-Jacobs grew up in Massachusetts and graduated cum laude from New York University in 2014 where she was President of the Hillel Board. Following graduation, she served as editor and writer at the Wall Street Journal, and recently obtained a Master of Philosophy from Trinity College in Dublin. Her experiences facing anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism in Dublin pushed her actively dedicate her time to standing up for Israel. Jessica hopes that the Israel Government Fellows program she will be participating in will provide her with the tools to even more effectively defend Israel upon her return to the United States.

Read Jessica’s essay on her connection to Zionism


Picture Jessica ZimmermanJessica Zimmerman graduated last year from the New College of Florida and will be a Teaching Assistant this year in Haifa through the MASA Israel Teaching Fellows program. She had been involved in Jewish and Zionist communal organizations since her youth, such as working in partnership with Jewish summer camps, local Jewish Federations, along with the AJC and the World Zionist Organization. Her commitment to Zionism is impressive, and she beautifully writes “Today Israel signals a new age, an age where Jews have a safe haven, a world where Jews do not have to fear forced conversion, torment, eviction, and genocide. I will fight for Israel until my last breathe on this earth because without Israel, who am I?”.

Read Jessica’s essay on her connection to Zionism


Picture Liat KastnerLiat Kastner is from Oregon and graduated from Reed College last year. She will be spending her year in Israel at the Yahel social justice program, and hopes to work in the Jewish sector upon her return to the United States. Liat has had a relationship with Israel since childhood and says that Israel is “the most important place in the world to [her] where [she is] not an “other” or an “outsider,” and can be proud of [her] Judaism and [her] family’s history.”



Read Liat’s essay on her connection to Zionism


Screen Shot 2017-09-11 at 8.00.53 AMNikki Golomb just graduated from the University of Delaware and previously spent a semester abroad studying at Tel Aviv University in 2015. She will be returning to Israel this fall to take part in the Way More Israel program. Nikki was involved with various Jewish and Zionist organizations on campus as a student at Delaware, including participation as a Hasbara Fellow. She greatly hopes to work in the Jewish non-profit sector when she will return to the United States. Nikki is extremely excited to be returning to Israel to learn more, explore, and deepen her connection to Zionism. She writes “more than anything, Zionism is loving and advocating for Israel. It is anything but easy. It is grueling, confusing, and an endless journey.”

Read Nikki’s essay on her connection to Zionism


passport photoPeter Young studied at San Diego State University where he earned a Bachelors in Modern Jewish Studies. He will be spending the upcoming year at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem, which he hopes will help him learn more about new perspectives while expanding his knowledge of Judaism and Israeli culture. He is greatly looking to utilize this amazing experience to advance towards his goal of becoming a Rabbi in the United States. Peter is deeply committed to his Judaism, to promoting Jewish life, and to being an unceasing advocate for Israel.

Read Peter’s essay on his connection to Zionism


Andrew Seligson hails from Kansas and is a recent graduate from Oberlin College. He most recently interned at the Permanent Mission of Israel at the United Nation and will be an Israel Government Fellow this coming year in Jerusalem. He is excited by this opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in Israel by directly making a difference for the Jewish People across the globe. As a staunch Zionist,  Andrew believes that “as long as we remain strong and committed to our mission, we can make a state of the Jewish people as strong, flourishing, and peaceful as it