Embassy picture















(L to R) Phyllis Greenberg Heideman, President, International March of the Living; US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman; Richard D. Heideman, President American Zionist Movement



AZM Statement: Principles of Zionism





The American Zionist Movement (AZM), comprising 28 national Jewish Zionist organizations, links the diverse American Jewish community in support of Israel, Zionism and the Jewish People. The AZM and its constituent organizations represent American Zionists within the National Institutions of Israel, including the World Zionist Organization (WZO). The AZM and its constituent organizations fully support and endorse The Jerusalem Program of the WZO, the global statement of the beliefs of the Zionist movement.1

The American Zionist Movement (AZM), through action and deed, supports these principles:

  • The sovereign state of Israel’s unconditional right to exist as the Jewish democratic homeland;
  • The right of the people of Israel to live in peace and security;
  • Pride in the common history, culture, destiny and religious heritage of the Jewish people;
  • Pride in Israel’s rich contributions to the world and its aspirational role to be an exemplary society for all of humanity; and
  • Israel’s centrality to Jewish identity and life.

Zionism Forward is the AZM’s campaign to:

  • Strengthen support for Israel, the Jewish people and Zionism.
  • Celebrate the ideology and cause of Zionism.
  • Help strengthen Israel’s position in the global family of nations.
  • Improve the dialogue on Zionism in America and participate in a new effort to guide the American Jewish people to speak in a unified and informed voice in support of Zionism’s core principles.
  • Provide the forum that fosters our diverse constituent Zionist organizations’ respectful coalescence around our commonality.

1The JERUSALEM PROGRAM is the official platform of the WORLD ZIONIST ORGANIZATION and the global Zionist movement, having been most recently amended and adopted in June 2004, as the successor statement to the “Basel Program” of 1897 adopted at the First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl.  The Jerusalem Program states that:

Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, brought about the establishment of the State of Israel, and views a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel to be the expression of the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future. The foundations of Zionism are:

  • The unity of the Jewish people, its bond to its historic homeland Eretz Yisrael, and the centrality of the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital, in the life of the nation;
  • Aliyah to Israel from all countries and the effective integration of all immigrants into Israeli society.
  • Strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state and shaping it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character, marked by mutual respect for the multi-faceted Jewish people, rooted in the vision of the prophets, striving for peace and contributing to the betterment of the world.
  • Ensuring the future and the distinctiveness of the Jewish people by furthering Jewish, Hebrew and Zionist education, fostering spiritual and cultural values and teaching Hebrew as the national language;
  • Nurturing mutual Jewish responsibility, defending the rights of Jews as individuals and as a nation, representing the national Zionist interests of the Jewish people, and struggling against all manifestations of anti-Semitism;
  • Settling the country as an expression of practical Zionism.



WZO / AZM Celebrate Israel Parade 2018

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Flag Ceremony 2018




JERUSALEM SHABBAT – שבת ירושלים 

Behar – Bechukotai
May 11 – 12, 2018
27 Iyar 5778

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) is joining with our colleagues in the Department for Diaspora Activities (DDA) of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) to mark שבת ירושלים –  “Jerusalem Shabbat” on May 11-12, 2018 (27 Iyar 5778), Parashat Behar-Bechukotai (as read in the Torah in the Diaspora).  This is the day before we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim (on Sunday May 13 – 28 Iyar) and two days before we mark the 70th “secular anniversary” of Israel’s founding  on Monday, May 14.


This is a continuation of the “American Zionist Shabbat” initiative which was launched by AZM in October 2017 under the “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” which culminates in celebrating Israel@70 in 2018.

Below you will see links to some resources specific to this special May 11-12, 2018 Shabbat and weekend, as well as the text of the Source Book for the American Zionist Shabbat which contains many appropriate general resources on Zionism. These and other resources are available from the WZO at https://myjerusalem.info/ and from AZM at www.ZionistShabbat.org.  

This is an opportunity for all to celebrate Jerusalem and Israel@70 (and our families, as it is Mother’s Day weekend).  This year we also recognize an important American connection to Israel and Zionism, as signified by the 70th anniversary of the United States recognition of Israel by President Truman on May 14, 1948. 


Note: click on each hyperlinked listing to open the webpage

Greetings from the Gusti-Yehoshua Braverman, Head of the WZO Department for Diaspora Activities

WZO-DDA Resource Guide “Beit Ha’am Z-Talks – My Jerusalem: An Anthology for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day)

ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists in America) – Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Israel Independence Day – Supplemental Readings

RZA (Religious Zionists of America) – Parshat Behar-Bechukotai: “The Holiness of the Land of Israel” 

WZO Jerusalem Day Supplement

Israel Forever Foundation – Resources for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day)

Truman Presidential Library – May 1948 Recognition of the State of Israel

WZO Beit Ha’am Unit for Shavuot – On Jewish Peoplehood


© 2018. All Rights Reserved. The American Zionist Movement




Lech Lecha to Vayishlach
October 28 – December 2, 2017
8 Cheshvan – 414 Kislev 5778


The American Zionist Movement has launched a series of programs in 2017-2018, which we have described as the “AZM Year of Zionist Anniversaries”. As we mark 120 years since Theodor Herzl launched the modern Zionist movement when he convened the first Zionist Congress in Basel, we will also celebrate major milestones this Fall during this Jewish year 5778. Therefore, AZM is launching a new American Zionist Shabbat initiative over the period of each Shabbat from Parshiot Lech Lecha to Vayishlach (October 28, 2017 through December 2, 2017). These weeks coincide with the Shabbat before the Centennial of the Balfour Declaration until the Shabbat after we commemorate 70 years since the United Nations Partition Resolution adoption (8 Cheshvan- 14 Kislev 5778).

AZM has begun this initiative, a resumption of the Zionist Shabbat/Shabbat Tzion program that AZM and the World Zionist Organization conducted in the past, in order to have greater dialogue within American Jewry on the significance of Zionism and its continuing relevance to our people and community. We hope that during these weeks, and commencing with the Shabbat of Parsha Lech Lecha – the journey of the Jewish People – Rabbis will speak about Zionism in their sermons, drashot and writings; day schools, yeshivot and Hebrew schools will connect their students to Zionism as related to the weekly Torah readings; and, that congregations, community organizations and Jewish institutions will share materials and encourage programs and discussions on Zionism.

AZM has compiled this initial Source Book, drawn from materials developed and shared by our AZM organizations and others, to each of whom we express our thanks and appreciation for their leadership and dedication, in order to provide a resource for conversations on Zionism during this period of American Zionist Shabbat. We will continue to grow and expand this guide and program through these weeks, and in coming months and years, and encourage others to share sources with us at azm@azm.org.

As we have seen Zionism attacked from various groups and people in America, it is important that Zionists of all backgrounds come together in our united support for the State of Israel as she enters her 70th year. That is what happened when Herzl first brought together abroad coalition of Zionists 120 years ago to build the movement which would lead to the establishment of a Jewish state in our ancestral land. Today Zionism is very much alive as we connect Jews worldwide with our homeland and as we continue to support the vibrant democracy, culture and contributions of Israel and the Jewish people.

This 2017-18/ 5777-78 “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” includes recognizing:

  • 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem following the Six Day War in June 1967;
  • 120 years since Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerlandin August 1897;
  • 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued in November 1917 by the BritishForeign Secretary;
  • 70 years since adoption of the United Nations Partition Resolution in November 1947; and,culminates with celebrating the…
  • 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948.

Please share, forward and implement your own thoughts in celebration of Zionism and the American Zionist Shabbat.The American Zionist Movement wishes to thank the leaders of each of the AZM organizations who have contributed materials, ideas and thoughts in developing the American Zionist Shabbat Sourcebook. For Further Information, to make contributions of materials or resources, please contact:

Herbert Block, AZM Executive Director hblock@azm.org (212) 318-6100 ext. 6946

Alicia Post, AZM Program Director apost@azm.org (212) 318-6100 ext. 6947

Please note: materials have been presented to AZM by our member organizations and others as resources and “food for thought” on Zionism. Inclusion of these resources here does not imply any official or full endorsement by AZM of all of the content.

The American Zionist Movement (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, Zionism and the Jewish People.download-now-button

Notes for a Zionist Shabbat

Rabbi Paul Golomb
AZM Vice President for Programming

What does it mean to speak of Zionism in a Shabbat d’rash or d’var Torah? I am referring specifically to an attempt to infuse a Zionist message into talk about the parashah, rather than departing from the text.

We should note first that drawing a Zionist theme from a parashah – any Torah portion – is not obvious. The Book of Genesis focuses primarily on those personalities that become the People Israel. It is a family drama, and the principal motifs that are drawn from its chapters often center on interpersonal dynamics.

The balance of the Books of Humash – Exodus through Deuteronomy – focus on Torah as instruction and the revelation that occurred at Sinai. Sinai, most significantly, is located in the wilderness, Midbar, a place that is nowhere, and therefore can be anywhere. And the revelation itself is inscribed on tablets of stone that Moses can carry down from the mountain. An extended stretch of the Book of Exodus is given over to a detail description of a mishkan, where the tablets will be housed in an Ark and the priestly administrations performed on behalf of the people will take place. The principal feature of the mishkan is its portability. It can go anywhere!

In the balance of Scripture, Sinai (or Horeb) is mentioned a mere nine times. After the first few verses of Joshua, Moses is not mentioned at all. As Sinai disappears, it is replaced by Zion, a fixed place where God and Israel may meet. The word “Zion” is not found at all in Torah! Tanakh is rooted in the Land, but Torah is not. Even the haftarot, drawn as they are from the balance of Scripture only rarely refer to Zion.

The reading of Torah and haftarah in the Synagogue is designed for a people scattered around the world. The foundation for the Jews is the portable scroll. Zion is an abstraction, a place set aside for a messianic time. Even though many synagogues have added the language that “it is beginning of the flowering of the days of the Messiah” in order to acknowledge the restoration of the Jewish State, Zion, from the Scriptural point of view, remains stubbornly in the future. What can we glean from our Torah readings that we may apply to today?

When reading Torah in the synagogue, the Land is rarely in the foreground, but it is always in the background. Consider the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as narrated in Genesis. In the parashiot Lekh L’kha and VaYishlah, Abraham and Jacob have travelled outside of the Land, to Egypt and Aram respectively. They both have been impelled to do so because remaining is inhospitable. In Abraham’s case it is famine, for Jacob it is the enmity of Esau. While away, they both enrich themselves. Egypt and Aram have been very good for them materially. Yet, both return to the Land! What compels this return?

Isaac, on the other hand, never leaves. Poignantly, parashat Hayei Sara, suggests that he nonetheless moved away from his parent’s home and dwelt in Beer Lahai Ro’I, the spring associated with Hagar and Ishmael. Ishmael, Isaac’s half-brother, we are told, is both one who is free to roam far and wide, and also the prince of twelve nations. Isaac feels the urge to roam as well, and yet he does not. He steadfastly remains rooted to the Land.

In the characterizations of the three Avot, the Land is not a source of material wealth, nor is it the basis of emotional security, and yet it is an irresistible draw. From the tales of Genesis, we may conclude that the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel cannot be expressed in either a material or emotional bonding. It is deeper and more ineffable. Zionism is predicated on the notion that Jewish identity cannot be reduced to devotion to Torah or personal sense of relatedness to other Jews. Both are indeed essential and are the principal qualities that draw one to the synagogue. Inexorably, however, Jewish identity is also tied to a powerful, if occasionally elusive, tie to a particular Land. The tie is not the proverbial “milk and honey,” nor the innumerable songs of Zion intoned by the waters of Babylon, nor even the command and promise of the Eternal. It is found in the meaning of being a Jew.

A final thought: Each morning in traditional liturgy, this verse from Leviticus (Chap. 26) is recited:

I will remember My covenant with Jacob, I will remember my covenant also with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the Land. The order, I believe, is important. It is chronologically reversed, and thus reminds us that before there is Israel, there is the Land itself.


Sermons of Rabbi Vernon Kurtz (Past President of AZM & Past President, Mercaz USA, the Zionist Organization of Conservative Judaism)

World Zionist Organization (WZO)

Links to selected parshiot:

Association of Reform Zionists in America (ARZA)


Bnei Akiva – Cheshvan “Choveret Chinuch”

Hadassah – Defining Zionism in the 21st Century
Link to various resources and video presentations:

Israel Forever Foundation

Links to each Parsha:

Religious Zionists of America (RZA)

Parshat HaShavua – featuring a different Religious Zionist rabbi each week from around the country to share a Dvar Torah.

Zionism – Reclaiming an Inspiring Word – Rabbi Alan Silverstein (President, Mercaz Olami, the Masorti Zionist Organization)

New Light on Zion – A Sermon by Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, Park Avenue Synagogue


“2017 – Israel’s Triple Anniversary Year” published by the American Jewish Committee

2017: A Year of Anniversaries – by Martin J. Raffel

The strength of modern Zionism 120 years after first World Zionist Congress by Martin J. Raffel, August 2017

November 2 – Balfour Declaration (1917) Centennial Date

November 29 – Seventy Years Since UN Partition Resolution Vote (1947)


© 2017. All Rights Reserved. The American Zionist Movement


UN Ambassadors Visit Auschwitz on Yom HaShoah with AZM Diplomatic Delegation

Thursday, April 12, 2018

(Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland):   Ambassadors to the United Nations from Africa, Europe and Latin America visited, Auschwitz-Birkenau the Nazi concentration camps, in Poland today and participated in the 30th annual March of the Living under the auspices of the American Zionist Movement (AZM).  The delegation, convened together with Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representatives to the UN, is part of a larger Diplomatic Mission of forty Ambassadors to the UN, who are visiting Poland this week and will be joining the delegation in Israel next week for Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day).

Richard D. Heideman, AZM President, said: “This Diplomatic Mission takes on great meaning in the year when we commemorate Israel’s 70th anniversary and just recently marked the important role of the UN Partition Resolution on November 29, 1947, an important day in our history.  As many remember the odious Zionism=Racism Resolution of the UN, the fact that Ambassadors to the UN are marching together in Poland and Israel under the auspices of The American Zionist Movement is especially significant. This delegation will gain a greater appreciation for Israel’s positive contributions, help improve Israel’s standing within the UN and help build greater ties for the Jewish people among diplomatic leaders from many nations.”

Ambassador Danny Danon said: “As we witness an increase in anti-Semitism around the world, and dangerous attempts to rewrite history, now more than ever we must ensure that the memories of the survivors pass on to the next generation.  By joining us on this meaningful march, UN ambassadors from around the world are speaking out against antisemitism and sending a message to all those who peddle in hatred.”

The delegation arrived in Krakow on Wednesday and toured the historic synagogues and Jewish Quarter and visited the Krakow Jewish Community Center.  They participated in a Yom HaShoah commemorative ceremony, which concluded with the singing of Hatikvah, the Israel national anthem, which was the song of the Zionist movement, now marking the 120th anniversary of its founding in Basel by Theodor Herzl. Leaders of the World Zionist Organization and American Forum For Israel, the organization for Russian American Jews, also joined the AZM group in Poland.  Players and officials of the Chelsea Football Club in the United Kingdom, which has launched an initiative to raise awareness of anti-Semitism, also took part in the AZM delegation.


The American Zionist Movement (AZM), comprised of 25 national Jewish Zionist organizations representing millions of Americans in the World Zionist Organization, works across a broad ideological, political and religious spectrum linking the American Jewish community together in support of Israel, Zionism and the Jewish People



Photo Release: Visiting UN Ambassadors Meet Rivlin & Netanyahu on Independence Day

For Immediate Release (photo below)
Thursday, April 19, 2018, Jerusalem
Contact:   Herbert Block

Photo Caption:  A delegation of forty UN Ambassadors concluded their week-long visit in Israel today with a meeting with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a diplomatic reception to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut, (Independence Day) at Beit HaHassi, the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.  The Ambassadors celebrated Israel’s 70th anniversary on a visit hosted by the American Zionist Movement together with Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

Forty UN Ambassadors Visiting Israel During 70th Anniversary

For Immediate Release    (photo below)
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Contact:   Herbert Block

Forty UN Ambassadors Visiting Israel During 70th Anniversary

(Jerusalem, Israel):   Forty Ambassadors to the United Nations, from a quarter of the countries with which Israel has diplomatic relations, are visiting Israel this week on a delegation organized by The American Zionist Movement in cooperation with Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN.

The Ambassadors, who hail from Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America, covering all UN Regional Groups, are meeting government officials, touring historical, religious and strategic sites and participating in events to commemorate Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the nation.

Richard D. Heideman, AZM President, said: “Seventy years after the United Nations played a key role in the founding of the State of Israel, it is significant that so many foreign Ambassadors to UN are visiting Israel to see firsthand the history and accomplishments of the country.  By being in Israel these diplomats will gain a greater appreciation for the threats and challenges which Israel faces daily, as well as an understanding of the importance of the country to the Jewish people and to all its inhabitants.  At a time when UNESCO denies the Jewish connection to Jerusalem it is important that the Ambassadors have seen the Jewish history of the city as well as the respect accorded to all faiths by Israel. Israel’s commitment to protecting access to the Holy Places and respect for people of all religions is exemplary and noteworthy to the Ambassadors.”

Ambassador Danny Danon said: “As we celebrate seventy years to our independence, it is heartening to be joined by senior representatives of so many countries from around the world. While Israel faces many challenges at the UN, we also know that we have many friends, and that this number continues to grow as more and more countries come to appreciate our beautiful thriving country and the contributions that we make to the international community.”

The delegation has met with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog, Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and visited the Western Wall, City of David and Masada.  They will be visiting towns on the Gaza Border, Yad Vashem, Christian holy sites, and meeting other senior national officials.  Last week Ambassadors on this AZM Diplomatic Mission participated in the 30th annual March of the Living in Poland in Krakow and in Auschwitz-Birkenau.










Jerusalem, April 16, 2018:  Delegation of Ambassadors to the UN, visit the Kotel (Western Wall) together with Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s Permanent Representatives to the UN and Richard D. Heideman, President of the American Zionist Movement.


The American Zionist Movement (AZM), comprised of 25 national Jewish Zionist organizations representing millions of Americans in the World Zionist Organization, works across a broad ideological, political and religious spectrum linking the American Jewish community together in support of Israel, Zionism and the Jewish People


FemInIsrael 2018

Zionism and Feminism are both movements dedicated to civil rights, freedom, and self determination.

The American Zionist Movement’s mission is to strengthen the connection of American Jews with Israel as well as encourage and participate in collective action to further the cause of Zionism in the United States and abroad.

Every year in March, as the world celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women during Women’s History Month, AZM has brought forward an initiative called FeminIsrael created to focus on and draw attention to the achievements of Israeli women, and their tremendous contributions to the State of Israel and the world.

In March  AZM held its annual FeminIsrael programming “Celebrating Israel’s Women” through a panel chaired by Alicia Post, AZM’s Program Director, and designed by Rabbi Paul Golomb, AZM National Vice President, Programming.  Keynote remarks were given by Dr. David Breakstone, Deputy Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, and Dr. Esther Serok, World Zionist Organization North America.

The four FeminIsrael panelists – from the four Zionist women’s organizations which are members of AZM  – represent the central roles that women play in the organizations as well as for the feminist and Zionist values they all share.  Each spoke about the role their organization plays today as a Zionist and Women’s organization as well as the endless contributions that have been made throughout their history.

The panel comprised: Sondra Sokal, Past National President, Board of Governors of AMIT Children; Johanna Guttmann Herskowitz, National President of Emunah America; Ellen Hershkin, National President of Hadassah – Women’s Zionist Organization of America; and Jan Gurvitch, National Vice President Fundraising of NA’AMAT USA (pictured below).


Purim 2018

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