Herbert Block Named Incoming Director of AZM


 Herbert Block photoNew York, March 2, 2017. The American Zionist Movement (AZM) announced today the selection of Herbert Block as its new Executive Director.   Mr. Block will join AZM following the organization’s Biennial Assembly which will take place on March 5-6, 2017 in New York.  He will succeed Karen Rubinstein who is retiring after 40 years with AZM, has served as Executive Director since 1981 and will be honored at a dinner at the AZM Biennial Assembly on Sunday, March 5, 2017.   Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations will be the keynote speaker at the dinner.

Rabbi Vernon Kurtz, President of AZM said “We feel very fortunate to have recruited such an accomplished professional to succeed Karen Rubinstein, who has served AZM and Zionism with such distinction and dedication for nearly four decades.   Herbert Block comes to AZM from a long career in Jewish communal life and public service and will build on Karen’s work as the organization moves forward.”

Mr. Block was formerly an Assistant Executive Vice President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (“JDC”) from 1999 to 2015, where he was responsible for the Government Affairs and Property Restitution portfolios for JDC, considered the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian organization.  Most recently he has been serving as a consultant, advisor and project manager for private and non-profit organizations in the areas of government relations, public affairs and international Jewish communal issues.  Since 2011 Mr. Block has served as a Presidential Appointee as a Member of the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, a position he will continue to hold.

Previously Mr. Block served as Assistant Director for Intergovernmental and Public Affairs for the New York City Independent Budget Office from 1996 to 1999 and was Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Relations at the federal Corporation for National and Community Service from 1994 to 1995.  He was Assistant to the Mayor of the City of New York from 1990 to 1993 and a Special Assistant to the Manhattan Borough President from 1986 to 1989.

Mr. Block is a member of the Board of Directors of the Hebrew Free Burial Association and the Community Alliance for Jewish-Affiliated Cemeteries. He is the Mayor’s Representative on the Board of Trustees of the NYC Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.   Mr Block represents the World Jewish Restitution Organization on foundations in Poland and Lithuania addressing Jewish communal property restitution.  He received a B.A. from Columbia University and a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School.

The American Zionist Movement, based in New York City, is composed of organizations and individuals representing a broad array of Zionist perspectives and engaging in a variety of philanthropic, educational and advocacy activities on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people. In this capacity, the AZM carries out activities and programs in the US in cooperation with the World Zionist Organization and represents American Zionists within the National Institutions of Israel. AZM strives to provide services and programming for member organizations, as well as serve as a catalyst for new Zionist ideas, a convener of Zionist discussions,  an incubator of new initiatives and is committed to the providing of quality Jewish and Zionist education to the next generation.

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-final-copy2AZM is holding it 12th Biennial Assembly, this coming March 5- 6, 2017.  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 39 years of service.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. David Passig of Bar Ilan University who promises to give a challenging and provocative address to set the stage 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 reservations.

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.


Have the Courage to Dream This Hanukkah

“All human deeds begin with a dream, and dreams they shall become.”

– Theodor Herzl

azm-flyerFrom the Maccabees, to modern Zionist heroes, national pride and sovereignty has marked the path of Jewish history.

2017 will mark numerous significant Zionist Movement anniversaries. In the coming year, the modern liberation movement of the Jewish people celebrates the 120 anniversary of the First Zionist Congress, the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, and the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War.

American Zionists played a major role in realizing these contemporary milestones, and continue to work on behalf of the people and nation of Israel. Our mission today is more heavily focused on building bridges of understanding and support between the global Jewish community and Israel.

As we begin the Hanukkah season, help us rededicate ourselves to our vital mission by making a generous year-end contribution. Please donate today.  We thank you for your support.  Happy Hanukkah

2016 Purim Focuses on the Brave Soldiers in Jerusalem

At a Yom Kef held in at a Magav station Old City of Jerusalem this week it was made abundantly clear just how meaningful a small thank-you can be. 400 of the border patrol and police were feted by AZM and the Zionist Council and given mishloach manot, and personal thanks from our American donors.

Purim is in fact the most difficult day of the year for these brave young people.  Everyone is in costume and carrying packages.  How do you let the public enjoy the holiday and still protect them? Did you ever think about that? It is a challenge.

In addition to bringing gifts to the Magav headquarters, some young people brought their offerings right to some soldiers on duty by the Kotel.   A



Help us reach more soldiers and police.  Tell them that you care and that we thank them.  Every donation counts!

NYC Celebrates Israel 2016 – Theo Herzl Joins In


FLOAT3Despite the torrential downpours, spirits were high as celebrants made their way Fifth Avenue on Sunday. June 2nd.  Zionism: The Spirit of Israel was the theme and Herzl’s beard was filled with words associated with Zionist values.  Theo Herzl marched alongside the float on Sunday and even managed to snag a few press interviews.

Israel was built on the core values of Zionism and still proudly carries these values today. We were thrilled to celebrate this beautiful country of ours, together with other Zionists from all over the Tri-State area and beyond, including some from our northern neighbor Canada.

Sponsoring the float were AMIT, Bnai Zion and Hadassah.  Many other organizations joined the Zionist line of march following behind, including Ameinu, Habonim-Dror, Hashomer HaShomer, MERCAZ USA, Forest Hills Jewish Center, Hebrew Tabernacle and Young Judaea.

See an album of photos here, a video of the Celebrate Israel Parade here, and of the AZM float at the Parade here.