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. 

 

BDS – The New Antisemitism? Confronting a Global Campaign

Join AZM and the WZO at a conference titled “BDS – the New Antisemitism? Confronting a Global Campaign” on June 2, 2016, in NYC. It will address the resurgence of global antisemitism and provide our community with tools to tackle and confront it.

A delegation of Israeli Mayors and Knesset members will participate in this symposium to learn more about what is happening on this front. Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, will also partake in the panel. It will be a great opportunity to hear about the joint efforts of Israeli MK’s and American Jewish leaders to understand and combat the BDS movement.

Please register HERE.
 
 
FLYER-NEW

Robotics Competitions – from Riverdale, NY to the Israeli Desert

The American Zionist Movement congratulates the students from the SAR High School Robotics Team, who participated in the International Robotraffic Competition at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology last week!

SarHS

Jacob Aaronson (12th grade), Joseph Rubin (11th grade) & Joey Yudelson (10th grade).

The SAR team took 2nd place in the Racing competition, 4th place in the Presentation competition for their idea of a ‘smart’ intersection, and 7th place in the Careful driving competition. SAR was the only team representing the United States, and competed alongside students from Russia, Ukraine, Argentina and Israel, making up a total of 25 participating groups.

The competition, which focused on road safety and intelligence in transport, was held at the Israel Institute of Technology, known as the Technion. Starting with the same base hardware, each team had to build and program a robot vehicle capable of adapting itself to traffic situations while analyzing its environment. From its development, the competition sought from students that they not only put into play the knowledge of robotics and programming, but also an understanding of the problems associated with the development of intelligent devices that need to operate safely in complex situations, such as those generated by traffic in a city.

Robotics Competitions are a great way to inspire students to go into science, technology, engineering and math, while having fun at the same time. We are also very proud to mention the great work of AMIT, a member organization of AZM, dedicated to education in Israel.

Drawing from the success of the robotics training in schools, an AMIT High School for girls in the Israeli Negev desert town of Yeroham, added robotics to its curriculum two years ago. In February, the team won the Inspire Award at the inaugural Tech Challenge National Robotics Competition and was chosen to represent Israel next month in the world championship to be held in St. Louis, Missouri. The TCN Competition requires student participation in community service volunteering. As part of their volunteer work, the students began teaching robotics in a nearby Bedouin village with the goal of helping children there establish a robotics team.

Adele Weizmann, the team captain, mentioned that her team truly believes they can impact the community through science and robotics, and a core motivation is their hope to be an inspiration to other students.

 

We wish the best of luck to the students of AMIT High School at the TCN Competition this month, and are very proud to be supporting the important work of AMIT in Israel. Ido Frommer, director of the Yeroham Science Center, said robotics have transformed the lives of children in this desert city, and that the AMIT students are a prime example of how robotics can transform a community as well as its neighbors.

 

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

 

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AZM and WZO Co-Sponsor Technion’s Robotics Competition

Robotics logo sml

The American Zionist Movement is partnering with the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Activities in Israel to sponsor the Technion’s Robotraffic Robotics competition, organized with the Leumi Robotics Center at the Technion in cooperation with World ORT. The competition will foster robotics education and traffic safety as well as educate about correct driving behavior. The largely Israeli competition has also recruited several teams from Ukraine and South America, and in March 2014 an all-girls team from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, won the Careful Driving award. This year, thanks to efforts by WZO and AZM, there will be entrants from the United States. Teams sent from the US via the Zionist Movement will also be treated to a 3-day program in Israel to visit major sites and to be exposed to the Israeli hi-tech industry. 

A limited number of schools in the US will be invited to create a team of students for the 2015 competition. Their challenge will be to build an autonomous robocar that can move according to traffic rules (traffic lights and signals) while keeping a safe distance from other cars and obstacles and avoiding accidents. 

The WZO is seeking schools with strong science departments interested in fielding a team. For more information about the contest in the US, please contact Einav Gelberg at einav.ogi@gmail.com.

Conference on Anti-Zionism and Antisemitism

On December 8, join the American Zionist Movement, the World Zionist Organization and the Consulate General of Israel in New York City to explore Antisemitism today, how it manifests itself and ask whether anti-Zionism is the new antisemitism. Featured speakers include author Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, US Special Envoy Ira Forman, Deputy Minister of Defense MK Danny Danon,  and Israeli actress Mili Avital.

To see the program: DRAFT PROGRAM 

To register: REGISTER (no longer accepting online registrations. You can register on Sunday at 130 E.59th Street) conference@azm.org

This program will be live streamed. Visit the iZionist site for more details on the day of the program.

 

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Feminism, Zionism and the Identities of Jewish Women Activists

FeminIsrael Panel for web

PRE-REGISTRATION IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

A Passover Haggadah for the Youngest Zionists!

Haggadah CoverThe World Zionist Organization presents a Passover Haggadah for Children.

This Haggadah was created by the WZO Center for Spiritual Services in the Diaspora.

Please feel free to print out and share this full-color haggadah for children. Simply download it here.

World Zionist Organization Mobilizes for Southern Israel

Following the escalation in rocket attacks on southern Israel, the WZO brought hundreds of schoolchildren from the south to Jerusalem, where they will have a good time, tour the city and enjoy some quiet. The students, from grades 1-12, will explore the city with a guide to accompany them. Among the places the students will visit are the Knesset, the Western Wall, Mount Scopus and more.  The young visitors from the South will also visit the WZO’s Herzl Museum and Educational Center, located on Har Herzl (Mt Herzl).

Additionally, for those who can’t make it to Jerusalem, the WZO and its daughter-company Tarbut L’Yisrael (Culture for Israel), have sent performing artists to southern communities to try to help relax the residents as much as possible while they seek protection in bomb shelters.  Tarbut L’Yisrael has been in continuous contact with cultural activities coordinators throughout the year and especially during these times of distress.  With funding from the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the WZO and Tarbut L’Yisrael made preparations and have sent performing artists to help relax the southern residents as much as possible and make their lives even a little bit more pleasant.

According to Gusti Yehoshua-Braverman, Head of the WZO’s Department for Diaspora Activities, “With the renewed eruption in southern Israel, and the repeated nonstop rocket attacks on the south’s residents, this department and the WZO’s Herzl Center ask to strengthen the hands of the Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers, its commanders and the south’s residents.  We are happy to host the south’s residents and children at the Herzl Center and hope that these activities will be significant, even a little calming and allow them to enjoy a bit of happiness.”

To help in this effort, please give now.

Many of the stricken communities have been the focus of  AZM’s Purim Connection drives in the past.  Thus, AZM feels a special affinity and concern for those living under this stress.  AMIT, one of AZM’s member organizations and a part of the World Zionist Organization runs many of Israel’s school and is closely monitoring the situation.

Thousands of AMIT students in Beersheva, Ashkelon, Sderot and Kiryat Malachi remained home today from school as hundreds of rockets continue to be fired from Gaza into southern Israel for a fourth day. On Sunday, a Grad missile struck the AMIT Hazon Ovadiah Elementary School in Beersheva, which thankfully was empty. Additionally, a rocket fell very close to the home of an AMIT Beersheva student. The principal of her school has been in close contact with the family.

Most families in the affected area are sleeping in bomb shelters at night, and heavy damage has been reported to buildings and vehicles. As in the past, AMIT has quickly responded with a variety of special services to its students, including offering classes and distance learning via the internet.  You can learn more about AMIT and help them provide these services.

Wherever you are, whatever your resources you can help the people in southern Israel.

  • Keep informed about the situation Don’t be afraid to speak up with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Tell them what is going on in Israel
  • When you see media imbalance, don’t be silent. Send a letter to the editor; call-in to talk radio programs; know the facts and speak your mind (don’t antagonize –inform and educate)
  • And please, contribute to efforts on behalf of Israel’s citizens in the south of Israel.
We wanted to keep you in the loop on the latest from Israel’s cities under siege.  I know you will want to help now!
Thank you.

This Year Celebrate Tu B’Shvat with a Seder

Tu B’shvat is the Jewish New Year for Trees. As the environment is changing, and the concept of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) is changing with it, we must be more aware of how this generation has the potential and the responsibility to change current practices in our society. In Deuteronomy 20:19 we learn “A human is like a tree in the field.”  Just as one tree does not make a forest, one person does not make up a community.  It takes all of us working together to repair the spiritual and physical damage human have inflicted upon the Earth.  As we celebrate Tu B’shvat, following in the traditions of the Kabbalists in Tzfat (Safed), we must also think about our responsibility to the earth and how to begin these repairs.

Materials are provided here to help individuals, families communities, and synagogues to organize and implement a Tu B’shvat seder as a way to examine and celebrate our connection to the land of Israel and the people of Israel. It is also a way to infuse Zionist identity with a green consciousness.

Tu B’shvat is an ideal time to focus on Israel.  Spring is about to emerge in Israel and forests are beginning to show a tinge of green.  How better to celebrate Israel and environment than with this Tu B’shvat Seder.  Download the hagaddah here.  Download the leaders guide here.

 

Please click on the links below for more Tu B’shvat resources.

Tu B’shvat Song – כי האדם עץ השדה …….Because Man is a Tree of the Field

Tu B’shvat Hagaddah

 

Donate to Move Zionism Forward™

 

Make a donation to AZM’s Together as One: Carmel Fire Relief Fund

Plant a tree in the Carmel Forest