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).

 

AZM’s 2018 Purim connection brings Purim joy to Israel’s Border Police and children

An important aspect of Zionism is maintaining our global Jewish unity and our personal ties to the people and land of Israel. Therefore, for nearly 30 years the “Purim Connection” program of the American Zionist Movement has helped maintain that bond by providing Mishloach Manot packages to those living in and protecting Eretz Yisrael.

This year, for the 2018 Purim Connection, the American Zionist Movement collaborated with its member organizations, networks and volunteers in Israel on two exciting projects in celebration of Purim. This includes partnerships with our Purim Connection coordinating partner, the Israel Forever Foundation, along with  Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, Yashar L’Chayal, AMIT Children and Bnei Akiva.

Mishloach Manot – baskets of treats – were distributed to impoverished Israeli children and to Israel’s Border Police “Magav” (מִשְׁמַר הַגְּבוּל) to bring Purim joy to the guardians and citizens of Israel. The brave men and women of the Border Police guard and protect the State of Israel and are often the first line of defense against urban and cross-border terrorism.

Students from AMIT volunteering

The Purim baskets were distributed with the help of the Israeli organization Yad Ezra v’Shulamit whose main goal is to help end hunger among Israelis. Miri Schreiber, the volunteer coordinator of the organization, wrote to AZM the following heartfelt thank you note: “Thank you once again for helping increase the Purim joy. It was a true testament of the power of unity, bringing together different groups within the ‘Klal’ for such a beautiful case. May we continue to work together to change the face of poverty in Israel.”

 

 

 Members of the Border Police sent videos thanking AZM and our partner organizations for organizing the Purim initiative and for providing them with Mishloach Manot. Austin, a lone soldier from Colorado who drafted into the Border Police, spoke emotionally about how truly wonderful the initiative was, and how deeply appreciative their entire unit was of the caring gesture.

In addition, Amichai Bacharach from Yashar Lachayal – an organization aimed at providing support to IDF soldiers – thanked AZM by mentioning that “the soldiers were thrilled to receive them! They thought that it is amazing that so many people care about them from overseas, and they were also happy with the quality of the mishloach manot themselves.”

The Border Patrol is a special unit that is under the auspices of – but separate from – the Police Dept. of Jerusalem. They are a joint force between the army and the police, and the Border Patrol also works with officers from both. When Israeli young adults are drafted into the IDF, some are offered a job in “Magav”, which is the Border Patrol. If they accept the assignment, they are trained as specialty police officers, and technically do not serve in the IDF. The Israeli Border Police is renowned for including a large number of soldiers from minority backgrounds, being a particularly popular choice with Druze recruits, but also includes many soldiers from Arab Christian and Bedouin background.

Some go on to choose this as a career, and some move from the police dept or army into Magav, and are professionals, as opposed to those fulfilling their 3 (or 2) year national service commitment. The “magavnikim”, or border patrolmen/women do get called back for “miluim”, reserve duty, but fulfill that reserve duty within the Border Patrol, not the IDF. The Border Police has recently become among the most popular and competitive combat units for new IDF recruits, presumably because of the increase in tensions and violence in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.

Through the 2018 Purim Connection, AZM sent over 400 packages to the Border Police women and men and just as many to Israeli children that enabled them to receive some Purim joy, and we are so thankful to our supporters who allow us to carry on such meaningful projects. 

 

Symposium Anti-Zionism = AntiSemitism

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) in cooperation with The Center for Diaspora Communications & Countering AntiSemitism of The World Zionist Organization (WZO) held a Symposium on Anti-Zionism = AntiSemitism on November 28, 2017 in New York City.  View Symposium Program.

View Source Book, Symposium Video, Photos, and Recordings (in English and Hebrew below)

This symposium was convened in conjunction with a delegation of Israeli Mayors and municipal officials visiting New York City, under the auspices of the WZO. The program and visit coincided with the commemoration at the United Nations of the 70th anniversary of the Partition vote on November 29, 1947 which preceded the establishment of the State of Israel in May 1948. This event was made possible through the support of the World Zionist Organization.

View & Download Source Book

The source book was provided by The Israel Forever Foundation

 

WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE SYMPOSIUM HERE:


 

AUDIO RECORDING (IN ENGLISH)

 

AUDIO RECORDING (IN HEBREW)

 

 

 

August 28: Celebrating 120 years since Herzl’s Zionist Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2017

WITH ZIONISM UNDER ASSAULT AMERICAN JEWISH AND ISRAELI LEADERS GATHERED IN NYC TO MARK BIRTH OF THE MOVEMENT

(Monday, August 28, 2017) At a time when “Zionism” has been criticized by the alt-Right and far-Left, nearly 100 representatives of Jewish and pro-Israel organizations gathered today, under the auspices of the American Zionist Movement (AZM), to mark 120 years since the global Zionist movement was founded.  As August 29-31 is the 120th anniversary of Theodor Herzl’s convening of the First Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland this event was held at the site of the official Theodor Herzl Memorial, located in Freedom Square Park in Queens.

“In recent weeks, as we have seen Zionism attacked from Richard Spencer to the Chicago March, it is important that Zionists of all backgrounds come together in our united support for the State of Israel.  That is what we did today as we marked the occasion when Herzl first brought together a broad coalition of Zionists 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 ofIsrael and the Jewish people”, said Richard D. Heideman, President, and Herbert Block, Executive Director, of AZM.

Photo credit: Maxine Dovere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Maxine Dovere
(high-res available upon request)

Among the speakers were (Left to Right):

  *Galit Peleg, Israeli Consul for Public Diplomacy, Consulate General of Israel in New York
  *Herbert Block, Executive Director, American Zionist Movement
  *Dr. Esther Serok, Representative of the World Zionist Organization in North America
  *Ellen Hershkin, National President, Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America
  *Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis
 
Sarrae Crane, Executive Director of MERCAZ, served as the Chair of AZM’s Herzl in the Park program, bringing the spirit of Basel to New York.  Co-sponsors of the ceremony today with AZM were the World Zionist Organization, Consulate General of Israel in New York, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Queens Jewish Community Council, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

###

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.

 

August 28: Celebrate 120 years since Herzl’s Zionist Congress

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.

FeminIsrael — Celebrating Women’s Accomplishments in Israel

feminisraellogoMarch 8th was International Women’s Day, which takes place during Women’s History Month. Each year, AZM and WZO mark Women’s History Month with “FeminIsrael”, an initiative created to focus on and draw attention to the achievements of Israeli women, and their tremendous contributions to Israel and the world.

This year in the context of FeminIsrael, the AZM and the Consulate General of Israel in New York have joined together to honor some of the women who comprise Israel’s Delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. AZM will be hosting a reception and panel discussion

It promises to be a very special program, featuring some high-powered Israeli professional women, including: Orit Rishpi from wepower, Hava Carrie from the Carmel Institute, Gila Gamiel, Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, among others. Moderating the event will be Farhana Rahman, Director for Communications for Z-Cast, a mobile app for broadcasting live podcasts developed by the Israeli start-up, Zula. Farhana gained quite a bit of attention during her business trip to Israel earlier this year as she posted her strong support and love for the country and people of Israel.

Click here to sign up, or click on the flyer below.

 

feminisrael_flyer

 

 

AZM Celebrates Women’s History Month

7276322_feminisraellogo

The AZM and the WZO are proud to once again promote FeminIsrael as part of  Women’s History month. FeminIsrael highlights and celebrates the accomplishments of Israeli women and their contributions to Israeli to Israeli society and the betterment of the world.

We also want to honor female heroines of pre-state and contemporary Israel. They are positive role models who have contributed to shape the Jewish state and improve Israeli society. Henrietta Szold, Lea Goldberg, Hannah Senesh, Shulamit Aloni, Gold Meir, along with IDF soldiers, and women politicians, are among the pillars of the shared Israeli narrative.

For ideas and materials to learn more about these women please download materials here.

 

On March 16, 2016 in New York City, AZM and the Consulate General of Israel in New York are sponsoring a FeminIsrael Event.  For more information and to registration, please click here.

Spread Some of the Joy of Purim in Israel

donate-now

Dear Friends,

Believe it or not, Purim is right around the corner! As we prepare for our parties and plan out our costumes, we also have a special opportunity to spread some Purim joy in Israel.

Please join our campaign to send Mishloach Manot to the members of the Jerusalem Border Patrol, and police officers stationed in Jerusalem’s Old City, a unique combination of IDF soldiers and police officers tasked with ensuring the security of our sacred capital. Over the past few months, a disturbing number of vicious terror attacks have changed the daily reality in Israel – primarily in Jerusalem. This new wave of violence was just starting to become the frightening norm as we attended the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem this past October. Tensions could be felt throughout the city, and country. Jerusalem businesses have suffered, tourism has decreased, and parents don’t leave their homes with their children without carrying handheld items for self-defense.Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 11.36.39 AM

While tragic news spreads quickly, what we don’t see or hear about in the US are the numerous attacks thwarted. Over the past six months, border patrol and police forces have seized countless weapons and prevented on average 2-3 terror attacks per day in the greater Jerusalem area. Just last week, Hadar Cohen Z”L, a 19 year-old border policewoman was killed in a terrorist attack at the Damascus Gate. Brave young men and women apprehend criminals and stop terror in its tracks; heroes we rarely hear about and don’t recognize enough.

Please join us in thanking them. As the Jewish nation, we have a responsibility to protect Israel, our Homeland. Though we may not be there personally, we can support those on the front lines who work tirelessly to keep our eternal capital safe so that Jerusalem’s civilians can walk the streets safely.

Imagine the pride and joy of a young officer receiving a show of appreciation from the global Jewish community this Purim.

Your gift of:

  •  $36 will provide one policeman with a basket;
  •  $180 will ensure an entire team will receive baskets.

In addition to this important initiative, and as in years past, the American Zionist Movement’s Purim Connection
program will continue to celebrate Purim with children in Ashkelon and other Israeli towns and villages.

  •  A gift of $300 will provide mishloach manot for an entire class.

Every gift counts and even a small donation will help an officer or Israeli child to enjoy the holiday. All gift baskets are purchased in Israel, therefore providing critical support to small Israeli businesses. Our friends and colleagues in Israel will hand deliver your gift basket.

Mishloach manot can be easily ordered via our website, please include a personal message that will be delivered with the basket.

This year’s campaign will be dedicated in memory of our dear friend and colleague, Marty Davis, who was instrumental in ensuring the success of this program in Israel. Marty made a difference and is sorely missed.

Amidst the latest wave of terror, we reflect on the meaning of Purim, a celebration to commemorate one of many stories from our collective history that exhibits our unique ability to stand up to our enemies, and unite as a people to overcome danger. In these difficult times, the American Zionist community, whose members are from vastly different backgrounds and perspectives, must join together to boost the morale to those who protect and serve, Israel and world Jewry. In doing so, we send the crucial message to Israel that we stand by her side, now during this difficult period, and always.

This Purim, join this initiative to do something different, do something special. Please order your mishloach manot baskets today or mail in a check to:

American Zionist Movement
40 Wall Street, Suite #706
New York, NY 10005.

The AZM, the American arm of the World Zionist Organization, is committed to the strengthening of Israel – locally, and around the world. JOIN US in uniting as a people, overcoming fear, and making this Purim a very special one for Israel’s quiet heroes.

We thank you for your support.

Rabbi Vernon Kurtz                                                           William D. Hess

President                                                                          Chair, Purim Connection

Sig Will + Vernon

 

 

 

 

P.S. We ask that you make your gift by March 9, 2016.

 

Robotraffic 2016 Competition at the Technion

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 8.32.50 AM The Robotraffic Competition will take place at the Technion next March for the 7th consecutive year. The event is a  joint  initiative of the Technion Leumi Robotics Center at the Technion’s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering  and RAVSAK, the Jewish Community Day School Network, in cooperation with the World Zionist Organization and  the American  Zionist Movement. The participants come from all over Israel and the Jewish Diaspora and have the  opportunity  to build their technical knowledge and skills. To compete, each team has to design a vehicle, install the  software, build it, and make a presentation – in Hebrew or English. The event does not, however, only focus on  technology and innovations in robotic car structure, but also on knowledge of driving rules and road safety. The  teams are judged on the quality of their cars, how well they drive, and how safe they are.

 

Avi Agnon, Chairman of World ORT –  a global Jewish educational organization, which cosponsored the event in 2012 –  highlighted its contributions in bringing “groups from abroad, encouraging the connection between Jewish communities  abroad and those in Israel, and providing a forum to exchange knowledge and ideas between students”.

Indeed, beyond a robotic competition, the event is an opportunity for young North American teens to experience a  week of friendly competition, while meeting budding scientists in Israel and discovering the country. The participants  will stay in Israel for 9 days, March 14-22nd 2016.

For more information, please contact Einav Gelber at einav.ogi@gmail.com

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 10.04.23 PM