AMERICAN ZIONIST SHABBAT – שבת ציון

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

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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.

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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.

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RESOURCE MATERIALS

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



MATERIALS ON THE YEAR OF ZIONIST ANNIVERSARIES

“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)

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© 2017. All Rights Reserved. The American Zionist Movement



 

The American Zionist Movement is proud to convene our Washington National Conference: Zionism Forward in the Spirit of Balfour, to be held in Washington DC, November 15-17, 2017.

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REGISTER NOWVIEW SCHEDULE

The Conference commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 70th anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution.  Our gathering will feature key speakers, panels and exciting events, including The Balfour Gala hosted at The Embassy of Israel, followed by a powerful day of sessions on Capitol Hill, featuring a Congressional Luncheon. The conference will conclude with the WZO Symposium on Diaspora Affairs.

 

For sponsorship opportunities, please click HERE to give online or HERE for a printable form.

WZO BEIT HA’AM TISHA B’AV SUPPLEMENT

 

Beit Ha’am Supplement – Pray for the Wellbeing of Jerusalem (PDF)

Or online: http://beit-haam.com/mitve-kotel.pdf

 

Year of Zionist Anniversaries: Exodus Commemoration

Exodus 70 years

Exodus 70 years

70 years ago today – on July 18, 1947 – a seminal event in Zionist history occurred in the Port of Haifa, when the S.S. Exodus finally reached the shore of the land of Israel.  This ship, carrying 4,515 Holocaust survivors seeking refuge from Europe, had a harrowing week-long journey from France to bring new Jewish immigrants to Israel, then under the British Mandate for Palestine.  Along the treacherous sea voyage the boat was attacked by the British Navy and three passengers were killed and 147 injured.  After the Exodus ship arrived in Haifa its passengers were forced by the British to return to Europe in another horrible voyage.

News of the story of the S.S. Exodus reverberated throughout the world and helped turn public opinion in favor of the formation of a Jewish homeland in Israel.  It was just a few months later, on November 29, 1947 that the United Nations voted in favor of Partition, leading to the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948.  The late great journalist Ruth Gruber called the S.S. Exodus the “The Ship that Launched a Nation.”

The American Zionist Movement (AZM) is pleased to commemorate this historic S.S. Exodus anniversary, by sharing the materials below prepared by the Israel Forever Foundation (IFF), an AZM affiliate organization.  This outstanding compendium includes links to many articles, essays and photos on the S.S. Exodus, and a comprehensive “Journey to Statehood” informational booklet which can be downloaded here.

The American connection to the S.S. Exodus is significant, as it was an American vessel, originally sailing from Baltimore, which was purchased by American donors to transport refugees and its crew were American volunteers.  Today, in Haifa a memorial to the S.S. Exodus was dedicated, under the sponsorship of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel. AZM encourages all American Zionists to pause today to remember the significance of the S.S. Exodus and to share the IFF materials widely with your friends, family and colleagues.

Remember the Exodus: Support Zionism Today

 

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Shalom friends,
Seventy years ago, on July 18, 1947, outside territorial waters near the coast of British Mandate Palestine, the British navy rammed a ship carrying 4515 Holocaust survivors with dreams of returning to our ancient homeland. This ship is forever known as Exodus 1947, their story forever a part of our collective experience in our fight for freedom, independence and our Jewish State.

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DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE JOURNEY TO STATEHOOD INFORMATIONAL BOOKLET

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Exodus 1947: History in the making

The war with Germany was over, but for thousands of Holocaust survivors, the fight for survival was far from won. The Exodus 1947 left France in the morning of July 11 carrying 4,515 passengers who could never envision the fate that was about to unfold.

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The Exodus 1947: A global cry for Jewish justice

By Tamar Ben Tzvi

Global support for the plight of the Jews aboard the Exodus 1947 had a major influence on the Jewish connection to Israel and the move towards re-establishing an Independent State of Israel.

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Names, Memories And Legacies:

The Meaning Of Exodus

By Dr. Elana Yael Heideman

The value of the Exodus story isn’t in its romanticism. It is in the impact it had on Jews around the world in understanding the need for a Jewish state, the fulfillment of the ancient dream that would soon become reality.

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Children Of The Exodus

The lives of the children of the Exodus is aptly captured in the historical film created by UJA on their quest to trace what became of the children after they built their lives in Palestine.

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Teaching Exodus

It is the transmission of memory – of the human experience and the events surrounding it – that will carry the legacy of the Exodus into the future. Now is the time to connect the next generation with the story of the Exodus and its significance as a step toward statehood. Come explore our resources, testimonies, discussion questions, and art activities to bring to your community now or anytime throughout the year.

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BRING THE EXODUS EXHIBITION TO YOUR COMMUNITY

Just as we inherit the memories of the Shoah, so too, must we learn from and transmit the legacy of the Exodus as a part of their story. We must know the facts, and understand the circumstances. We must teach of the passion which drove the volunteers, passengers and fighters to endure endless struggles toward the fulfillment of our ancestral dream. We must inherit their determination and imbue tomorrow’s youth with a shared commitment toward the continuation of our nationalist vision – to protect our land, our history, our heritage, our memory, our peoplehood, our freedom in our Jewish sovereign state.

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LEARN MORE!

Exhibit it at your synagogue, community center, school, camp or library.

Now or anytime throughout the year!

Exodus 70 years

 

Donate to Support Zionism in America

 

Beit Ha’am – Israel Education Resources

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The Beit Ha’am – House of the Nation – program was developed by the Department for Diaspora Activities of the World Zionist Organization to encourage discussion on the subject of Zionist identity and attitudes to the State of Israel.

The program includes diverse traditional and modern texts on a range of subjects. Through encounter with these texts, we hope to encourage lively discussion of Zionist identity among Diaspora Jews in general, and the younger generation, in particular. The discussion will address what binds the Jewish people, wherever they may be, as well as what divides and separates us.

We will consider the meaning of Jewish political independence of the people dwelling in Zion and the reciprocal relationships between Jews living in Israel and those who live in the Diaspora. This represents an opportunity for everyone, irrespective of prior knowledge, to get to know and enhance their knowledge about the significance of Zionism in the 21st century, to engage in discussion, reflect on its substance and the extent of its relevance to our lives.

Below, you can find resources from the Beit Ha’am program. You may have to scroll down to the last page in order to find the beginning of the English booklets.

All links in purple are guides for educators and leaders.  The guides are tools to teach about Israel through different activities.

 

The establishment of the State of Israel

United Nations Vote for a Partition Plan – 1947

Why Not Uganda

 

 

The concept of Zionism

Defining Zionism Workshop

 

Israeli Leaders

Ben Gurion Leader’s Guide

Menachem Begin on Israeli issues

Yitzhak Rabin – Yitzhak Rabin and the peace process – Yitzhak Rabin Memorial Ceremony

About Leadership

 

 

About Israeli society

The Tent Cities: Israel Social Protest 2011 – PostersEducationHealthHousing

A Guide to discuss social issues in Israel

Operation Protective Edge

Identity Issues : Jewish and Zionist identity

Israeli Law: The Supreme Court, Israeli Laws

The Israeli Political System

Israeli Elections

 

Jewish Holidays

Hanukkah

Passover

Purim

Purim 2017

Rosh Hashana – The New Year

Shavuot

Tisha B’Av

Tu B’Shvat: Haggadah – Seder

Yom Ha’ Atmazut – Independence Day

Yom Ha’ Shoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom Ha’Zikaron – Memorial Day

Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day

 

 

Women in Israeli Society – FeminIsrael

Women in Israeli History

Women in Israeli Society

Arab Women in Israel

Ethiopian Women in Israel

Haredi Women in Israel

Marriage and Religion

Russian Women in Israel

Women in Israeli Society Leader’s Guide

Women in Politics

Women in the IDF

Women in the Job Market

Female Figures in Israeli History 

A Comprehensive list of Israeli female figures

Israeli Literature and Poetry

Poetry Program

Is it true, by Leah Goldberg

Beit Ha’am monthly anthologies

Month of Elul (last month of the Jewish calendar)

Month of Tishri

Beit Ha’am’s Tribute to Leonard Cohen

A Tribute to Leonard Cohen

 

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Zionist News of Interest

newsBelow are several news stories, articles, web sites and more that can serve as an additional source of material for Zionist organizations and supporters. This list will be updated.

 

Title:              “Keep Dreaming: He sang at my wedding”

Author:          David Breakstone

Publication:   Jerusalem Post

Date:            12/26/2013

Summary:     Memories of Arik Einstein. Regarded as “the greatest, most popular, and most influential Israeli artist of all time.”

Link:             http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Keep-Dreaming-He-sang-at-my-wedding-336239

 

Title:             “Center Field: Let’s wave the flag for Israel – even in hip Tel Aviv”

Author:         Gil Troy

Publication:   Jerusalem Post

Date:             05/07/2014

Summary:     “Critics so often define Israel by its problems that it is easy to forget how well this country of 8.2 million people works. The systems and structures that westerners take for granted can be taken for granted – which is not something we should take for granted.”

Link:              http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Center-Field-Lets-wave-the-flag-for-Israel-even-in-hip-Tel-Aviv-351479

 

Title:               “Can Zionism be the Answer?”

Author:           Rabbi Sid Schwarz (senior fellow at Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

Publication:     The New York Jewish Week

Date:              6/3/14

Summary:      “Our dilemma today is that at the very time that we desperately need an ideological linkage between powerful Israel experiences and the creation of robust Jewish communities for young Jews in America, Zionism is absent from the mix.”

Link:               http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/opinion/can-zionism-be-answer

 

Title:             Keep Dreaming: Zionism. Think again

Author:          David Breakstone

Publication:   Jerusalem Post

Date:             2/14/13

Summary:     Report on the conference cosponsored by iCenter and the AZM held in Chicago, February 2013. “Educators from Israel and N. America are working together to create a language for teaching about Israel in a way that will make it integral to Jewish identity.”

Link:              http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Opinion/Article.aspx?id=303326

 

 

Best Practices and Programs

dialogueBelow are several innovative programs that encourage dialogue about Zionism, created by Zionist organizations from all over the religious and political spectrums. This list will be updated.

 

Organization:         Ameinu

Title:                     Third Narrative Initiative

Date:                     Continuous

Summary:              The Third Narrative (http://thirdnarrative.org) is an initiative of Ameinu, intended to engage progressive Jews and non-Jews who seek ways to combat unfair and inaccurate attacks from the far left while maintaining a progressive position via a vis the Arab-Israeli conflict. It gives progressive activists language and approaches with which they can discuss the conflict, Israel government policy, and Palestinian rights, while not relinquishing their approach to resolving the conflict. To quote Ameinu, “When it comes to this conflict, the truth is rarely black or white; it resides in a gray area where advocates on either side typically don’t like to venture. That is where we try to go with The Third Narrative.”

Link:                     http://thirdnarrative.org

 

 

Organization:      PRAZE Division, Hadassah

Title:                   Rethinking and Reaffirming Zionism in the 21st Century with Arnold M. Eisen, Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary

Date:                  Wednesday, July 9, 7:30 pm EDT.

Summary:           Hadassah’s Defining Zionism in the 21st Century Series is an online monthly program that creates a welcoming opportunity for everyone to explore various perspectives of Zionism from the comfort of home. This program is free of charge and open to the community.

Link:                    www.hadassah.org/definingzionism

 

Resource List

Posters From Pre-State Israel