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)


Aytzim


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.

Rosh Hashana Message 5778

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AZM Rosh Hashana Message 5778

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5778 MESSAGE FROM THE AMERICAN ZIONIST MOVEMENT

The Jewish high holidays are indeed a time for reflection and renewal. In that spirit the American Zionist Movement is entering 5778 with an emphasis on recognizing our roots and celebrating the importance of Zionism in Israel’s history and the future of the world Jewish community.

Zionism is the modern political movement rooted in the thousands-year-old determination of the Jewish people to return as a sovereign nation in Israel, our ancestral and indigenous homeland. In recent years, Zionism has been misrepresented and slandered by those who oppose the very existence of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Zionism is a cause and ideology deserving of universal support.  It should serve as inspiration to all oppressed minorities, but instead the good name of Zionism has been sullied.

This is a critical moment for Zionism, and solidarity with Israel is necessary in these difficult times.

Your gift to the AZM today will help fund programs supporting Zionism in America.

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. Our member organizations engage in a variety of philanthropic, educational and advocacy activities on behalf of Israel, with a collective reach to millions of Americans with a diverse array of perspectives, but who all identify as Zionists.

AZM is committed to reclaiming the good name of Zionism! Israel is under ceaseless attack at our universities and on social media. Both bold and thinly veiled anti-Semitic tropes and libelous accusations are peddled under the guise of “Anti-Israelism”. This rhetoric is influencing our youth and the new face of anti-Semitism is spreading rapidly.  

Support of the AZM will help educate Americans on why they must support Zionism.

The truth is:  Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism deny the history and future of our people.  Support the American Zionist Movement in our quest to right this wrong and to proudly stand up for Israel and the Jewish People.

AZM spoke out publicly against attempts to conflate Zionism and White Supremacy last month. AZM is prepared to tackle the Boycott Divest and Sanction movement (BDS), and confront the issue of the exclusion of Jews from academic environments, parades and public discourse. Join us in our effort. 

AZM is the one organization in the United States where Zionists of all beliefs, ideologies, religious affiliations and viewpoints come together in unity on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people.

We are taking a three pronged approach toward unifying the vision of modern Zionism. Education – to educate our youth on the history of the Jewish people, anti-Semitism and Zionism.  Unity – to engage in civil discourse and unify on our unique similarities that arise out of our faith, our principles, our teachings, and our obligation to be dignified and respectful to each other, rather than focus on our differences. Impact – to remind the world of the rich contributions that the Jewish people, Israel and Zionism have and continue to make on society.

Help to create a unified voice for Zionism, please join the AZM today.

The AZM recently implemented a new forum for dialogue with the Presidents and Executive Directors of AZM’s member organizations, an important step toward unification. Our first meetings were held this summer and are already leading to greater engagement and cooperation in the Zionist community. We are growing and strengthening our movement every day.

Read our just released “Six-Month 2017 Report of Activities and Achievements” – Here.

Support the American Zionist Movement in 5778.

In 2018, the AZM will mark a significant anniversary, as it was 25 years ago that we became the successor to the American Zionist Federation, which evolved from the American Zionist Council formed during the Holocaust to unite American Zionists to push for the creation of the State of Israel. In May 2017, to honor our predecessors and founders, we launched the “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” which will run through May 2018. In partnership with our member organizations and the broader Jewish community, we will conduct programs and events throughout the United States.  This work, these teachings, these efforts, require resources.  

This year we celebrate important Zionist Anniversaries:

  • 120 years since Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897;
  • 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued in November 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary;
  • 70 years since adoption of the United Nations Partition Resolution in November 1947;
  • 70 years since the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948; and
  • 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, our holiest City, following the Six Day War in June 1967;

Please help reclaim the good name of Zionism and celebrate AZM’s “Year of Zionist Anniversaries.”

This Fall, an “American Zionist Shabbat” series will launch, starting on October 28, 2017, to coincide with the Shabbat before the Balfour Declaration anniversary through December 2, 2017, the Shabbat after the Partition Resolution anniversary. We are preparing programming, lecture materials and arranging speaking opportunities with Rabbis and Community leaders across the spectrum of AZM’s organizations. Contact AZM to learn more.

We invite you to join our AZM Washington National Leadership and Policy Conference in Washington, DC on November 15-17, 2017, to be held in conjunction with the Department of Diaspora Affairs of the World Zionist Organization and the Balfour Initiative of The Israel Forever Foundation.  Join us at Congress for the “Celebrate Balfour 100 Symposium” The Conference is an important piece of our goal toward education, unity and impact. Join us.  Be thereParticipate.  Support us

Theodor Herzl said “If you will it, it is no dream; and if you do not will it, a dream it is and a dream it will stay”. The AZM continues to “will it” and is working hard to move “Zionism Forward”. We hope that you are excited about our progress, our activities and our commitment to renewing the good name of Israel, the Jewish People and Zionism.     

Your donation will help move “Zionism Forward” and help ensure Israel’s 70th is honored with dignity and pride.

Join UsStand UpSpeak Out for the good name of Zionism, Israel and the Jewish People

Please donate today in the spirit of the New Year.

Thank you,

Richard D. Heideman, President

Francine Stein, Chair

Marlene Post, Vice President

Herbert Block, Executive Director

Karen Rubinstein, Executive Director Emerita

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AZM 6 Month Report

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September 2017

 

THE AMERICAN ZIONIST MOVEMENT

REPORT OF ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS

March – September 2017

 

This report is a compilation prepared by the President of AZM, Richard D. Heideman; Chair of the AZM National Board, Francine Stein; AZM Executive Director, Herbert Block; AZM Program Director, Alicia Post; and the AZM Leadership Cabinet.

 

AZM BIENNIAL ASSEMBLY & LEADERSHIP: At the AZM Biennial Assembly on March 5-6, 2017 in NYC, with 175 participants, new leadership for AZM was elected, including the following officers: Richard D. Heideman, President, Francine Stein, Chair of the AZM National Board; Marlene Post (VP for Fundraising Development), Paul Golomb (VP for Programs), Marilyn Wind (VP for Inter-Organizational Affairs) and Alan Silberman (VP for WZO Relations).  Each is in the process of building out their portfolios, including working with various Committees that have been or are in the process of being established.

AZM Executive Director, Herbert Block began in his role in March 2017, succeeding Karen Rubinstein, who was named Executive Director Emerita upon her retirement.  Alicia Post was named AZM Program Director in April 2017.

A video of Richard’s acceptance speech and written remarks as incoming President are available online. Click here for selected press links.    

AZM Treasurer Jim Schiller has revamped our fiscal accounting and reporting functions and will be  preparing an initial 2018 budget draft for early review by the AZM National Board at its November, 2017 meeting.

AZM Secretary, Shelley Sherman, has prepared extensive minutes of all the meetings of both the AZM National Board and the AZM Leadership Cabinet.

 

AZM LEADERSHIP CABINET:  The AZM Leadership Cabinet has met March 30, May 17, June 20, July 11 and is convening on September 14

 

AZM NATIONAL BOARD:  The AZM National Board met on March 6, June 5 and will next convene on September 14.

 

AZM PRESIDENTS & EXECUTIVE DIRECTORS:  We have convened meetings of the AZM Presidents & Executive Directors of the various member/affiliate/youth organizations.  This new forum, convened on June 5, July 11 and September 12, has proven valuable in exchanging ideas and in expanding the thinking on issues as we strive to address concerns of the various organizations within the spectrum of AZM.

 

PROGRAMS:  AZM has sponsored or participated in the following programs during the past six months; 

Co-sponsored:

  • Yom Yerushalayim commemoration – MD (5/23)
  • Anniversary of Reunification of Jerusalem – Capitol Hill (5/17)
  • Yom Hazikaron & Yom Ha’atzmaut Flag Raising Ceremony – Bowling Green, NY (5/1/17)
  • Ambassadors Against BDS – UN (3/29)

 

YEAR OF ZIONIST ANNIVERSARIES:  AZM has announced and is pursuing activities in 2017-18 under the banner of the “Year of Zionist Anniversaries”, including the following. The program announcements can be found here:  https://www.azm.org/biltmore

  • 75 years since the convening of the Biltmore Conference in NY in May 1942;
  • 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem, following the Six Day War, in June 1967;
  • 70 years since the journey of the Exodus refugee ship in August 1947;
  • 120 years since Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in August 1897;
  • 100 years since the Balfour Declaration was issued in November 1917 by the British Foreign Secretary;
  • 70 years since adoption of the United Nations Partition Resolution in November 1947;
  • 70 years since the founding of the State of Israel in May 1948

 

AZM WASHINGTON NATIONAL CONFERENCE:  AZM has announced its Washington National Conference, November 15-16-17, 2017, Zionism Forward in the Spirit of Balfour, which will be held in partnership with the Department for Diaspora Activities of the World Zionist Organization (WZO) and the Balfour Initiative of the Israel Forever Foundation (IFF). www.azm.org/azm-national-conference 

 

AZM and WZO:  AZM is working closely with the WZO on multiple activities and recently hosted Avraham Duvdevani, Chairman of the WZO as guest speaker at the AZM National Board Meeting; Esther Serok, WZO US Representative at the Herzl in the Park program; and Gusti Yehoshua Braverman, Chair of the Department of Diaspora Affairs of the WZO, at a special meeting of AZM Presidents, Executive Directors and Leadership.

 

AMERICAN ZIONIST SHABBAT:  AZM has announced the dates of October 28-December 2, 2017 for communities to hold an American Zionist Shabbat program, providing resource materials to Rabbis, AZM organizations, synagogues, schools and communal leaders so they can speak about Zionism during this period.

 

AZM COMMITTEES/TASK FORCES/WORKING GROUPS/INITIATIVES:  AZM has created, or is in the process of appointing, leaders to participate in various AZM Task Forces, Working Groups and Initiatives.  Interested leaders can self-nominate, or recommend others, to join the following groups being considered by the AZM Leadership Cabinet:

  • Communications and Website
  • Constitution (WZO and AZM)
  • Fundraising & Resource Development
  • Israel 70th Anniversary
  • Membership Outreach  (organizational and individual)
  • Policy Review & Issues
  • Programs and Events
  • Strategic Planning Implementation
  • Washington National Conference Planning
  • Youth Development, Young Leadership and Education
  • Zionist Shabbat Planning

 

AZM FUNDRAISING DEVELOPMENT:  For AZM to succeed, we must group our fundraising and development resources.  That means contributions, grants, bequests.  Please make your own contribution and solicit others. https://www.azm.org/donate

 

AZM STRATEGIC PLANNING:  AZM adopted in September 2016 a new Strategic Plan.  AZM is following the plan in all respects and is updating the Strategic Plan as a working tool to guide our growth. https://www.azm.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/STRATEGIC-PLAN-email-version.pdf

 

WZO RELATIONS: Under the leadership of the VP for WZO Relations AZM has been actively involved in discussions on possible revisions to the WZO Constitution and Regulations and has presented many items to the WZO for its consideration.  AZM has also been preparing for the upcoming Zionist General Council (Vaad HaPoel) meeting in Israel at the end of October in consultation with our organizations and others.

 

COMMUNAL ORGANIZATIONAL INVOLVEMENT: AZM leadership has participated in meetings of the following organizations of which it is a member: Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; AIPAC National Council; National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry; and, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

 

MEETINGS and OUTREACH:   The new staff of AZM have been meeting individually with each of the 25 AZM constituent organizations in order to learn more about their work and how they can best be connected to programs and mission of AZM.  Staff have also met with many other national Jewish and pro-Israel organizations in order to brief them about AZM and connect our activities.  Staff have also begun to develop connections with colleagues at Zionist federations in countries across the world.

 

HELYN B. REICH Memorial SCHOLARSHIP FUND:  Reich scholarships are awarded each fall and spring to a limited number of American students who choose to study at one of several designated Israeli universities or attend post-college long-term programs. The scholarship seeks to recognize candidates who have demonstrated academic excellence, pro-Israel activity in their personal lives, and a dedicated commitment to future involvement with the Jewish and Zionist community in the United States.  The latest class of award recipients was announced in September 2017.  Read more at:  https://www.azm.org/category/scholarship-winners

 

AMERICAN ZIONIST YOUTH COUNCIL (AZYC): This initiative, funded by WZO and operated through AZM, brings together the leadership of the Zionist youth movements and other national Jewish youth organizations in America, for coordination of activities and joint programs.  You can read more on AZYC March Shabbaton here.

 

AZM LEADERSHIP MEMORANDA:  AZM has issued the following Leadership Memoranda to a broad list of AZM leaders from its Board, Zionist and Jewish organizations and other communal leaders:

 

PUBLIC STATEMENTS:  AZM has released various public statements on selected issues, including:

  • With Zionism Under Assault American Jewish and Israeli Dignitaries gathered in NYC to Celebrate the Birth of the Movement August 28, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • AZM Denounces Richard Spencer Calling Himself a “White Zionist” August 17, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • 75 Years after Historic Biltmore Conference, AZM Launches “Year of Zionist Anniversaries” May 11, 2017 | Read Full Text

 

KOTEL ISSUE:  

On June 29th AZM sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu regarding the controversy concerning the Kotel. The letter can be seen here;  https://www.azm.org/kotel-letter-7-29-17

 

PRESS INTERVIEWS AND COVERAGE:  We have had numerous press articles, listed here:  

AZM in the News

  • Celebrating the First Zionist Congress (Queens Chronicle) August 31, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • In KGH, Jewish Community Leaders Celebrate Herzl, 120th Anniversary Of First Zionist Congress (Queens Jewish Link) August 30, 2017 | Read Full Text | Click for Community Snapshots
  • Zionism Under Assault (New York Jewish Life) August 30, 2017 – Leaders Gather in NYC to mark the birth of a movement | Read Full Text
  • US Jewish leaders from right to left back metal detectors on Temple Mount (JNS.org) July 21, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Moving Zionism Forward: A Conversation with the President of the American Zionist Movement (Patheos) June 15, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Jewish Survival Through Jewish Unity, Theme of New AZM President (JewishPress) May 17, 2017 – Heideman’s task will be to fashion unity from a widely-disparate consortium of Zionists | Read Full Text
  • Zionism Forward (JPost) April 25, 2017 – Why are American Jews so fazed by the question- Are you a Zionist? | Read Full Text
  • New AZM President (LIJW) March 31-April 6, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Four Questions: Herbert Block (New York Jewish Life) March 21, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • Ex-Louisvillian elected president of AZM (Jewish Louisville) March 17, 2017 | Read Full Text
  • ‘News and analysis’ (The Chronicle of Philanthropy) March 10, 2017 – Grist and American Zionist Movement Name New Top Executives | Read Full Text
  • ‘Impact of BDS is worse than most people Realize’ (JPost) February 26, 2017 – Richard D. Heideman, one of the foremost legal experts on fighting the BDS movement, seeks to repair the tarnished name of Zionism | Read Full Text

 

EMAIL NOTICES

The following additional announcements were sent by email to AZM’s contact list:

August 15 2017: Join us 8/28: Celebrate 120 years since Herzl\’s Zionist Congress: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-53Q6Y-32/sv.aspx

July 18 2017: 70 Years Ago Today: Exodus Commemoration: http://ourmailer.com/15TF-51Z1K-32/sv.aspx

June 20 2017: Moving Zionism Forward: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-506DT-32/sv.aspx

June 2 2017: Celebrate Israel with AZM – Sunday, June 4th: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4YVDH-32/sv.aspx

May 19 2017: Celebrate Jerusalem Day in Potomac, MD – May 23rd: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4Y4A1-32/sv.aspx

 Apr 27 2017: NY area Yom Hazikron & Yom Ha\’atzmaut Events: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4WL49-32/sv.aspx

Apr 26 2017: Zionism Forward, Today\’s Jerusalem Post: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4WL3B-32/sv.aspx

Apr 06 2017: Passover Greetings, Zionism Forward: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4UHAO-32/sv.aspx

Mar 23 2017: Join AZM at the UN on 3/29, Ambassadors Against BDS: http://americanzionistmovement.org/15TF-4U25L-32/sv.aspx


 

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AZM/WZO Mission to the March of the Living

The International March of the Living is an annual educational program, bringing individuals from around the world to Poland to study the history of the Holocaust and to examine the roots of prejudice, intolerance and hatred. This year’s March commemorates the 30th year anniversary of the March of the Living.

View the schedule here

Photos & Videos from AZM Washington National Conference 2017

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The American Zionist Movement held our Washington National Conference: Zionism Forward in the Spirit of Balfour on November 15-17, 2017 in Washington DC, in partnership with the Department for Diaspora Activities of the World Zionist Organization 

(WZO) and the Balfour Initiative of The Israel Forever Foundation (IFF).

 

Conference videos below: 

*Click on 3-line icon on top left of screen below to see full list of videos*

The Conference commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and the 70th anniversary of the UN Partition Resolution.  Our gathering featured 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 and Diplomatic Luncheon. The conference concluded with the WZO Symposium on Diaspora Affairs.

 

VIEW SCHEDULE

VIEW: AZM Washington National Conference Program

 

HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES BALFOUR CENTENNIAL RESOLUTION WHILE AMERICAN ZIONIST MOVEMENT MEETS IN WASHINGTON

View the Balfour Centennial Resolution passed on November 17, 2017 

 

 


 

SPEAKERS

 

VIEW SCHEDULE

For more details contact azm@azm.org or call 212.318.6100 x6947

*Kosher Dietary Laws observed throughout the conference

 

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.

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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.

 

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

 

iff

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.

Read More

 

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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.

Read More

 

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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.

Read More

 

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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.

Read More

 

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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.

Read More

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

 

Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu 6/29/17

Click here to view pdf: AZM Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu

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June 29, 2017

5 Tamuz 5777

 

H.E. Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister of Israel

3 Kaplan Street

Jerusalem, Israel

 

Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu:

As you know, the American Zionist Movement (AZM) represents a broad and diverse spectrum of Zionist organizations in the United States from across the religious and political streams of the American Jewish community.  We are united in our support for Israel and the unity of the Jewish People connected to the State of Israel and Jerusalem, its capital.  In the past we have strongly rejected the statements of UNESCO and others who wrongly choose to revise history in rejecting the rights of Israel, and the Jewish people, to our ancestral homeland and in denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.   

We emphasize in our work that Israel has long stood for the principles of providing, assuring and protecting freedom of and access to the holy sites for peoples of all religions in Jerusalem and its Old City, whose quarters are precious and holy to the great religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and the peoples of the world who share the Old City in the Jewish, Christian, Moslem, and Armenian Quarters. Indeed, for the Jewish community, the Western Wall, our “Kotel” – the holiest site remaining from our Temple, is more than a symbol, it is the centerpiece for Jewish communities throughout the diaspora and must be preserved in perpetuity and dignity for all Jewish people.

A full delegation of leadership from the American Zionist Movement and our organizations was in Jerusalem this week for meetings of the Jewish Agency for Israel.   They have shared with us their concerns as to the developments of this past week which have been elevated to near crisis level.  Indeed, we regret the decision of the Cabinet of the State of Israel on Sunday to suspend the prior agreement regarding expanded access to prayer areas at the Kotel for all denominations and practices within Judaism.  AZM is a member organization of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and we note with support their letter on this matter which was sent to you yesterday.

In our view, Mr. Prime Minister, it is imperative that the Kotel remain a place that represents the unity of our Jewish nation and faith.  The unity of the Jewish people, in connection to the land of Israel, is a key element of the Zionist movement, since it was launched 120 years ago at the First Zionist Congress convened by Theodor Herzl.  

We believe, Mr. Prime Minister, that this is a time for leadership and unity within the Jewish community.  It is not a time for actions that lead to further divisiveness that conquers our spirit, destroys our will, and sends a message to our enemies of weakness and lack of respect for own people, who must be free to worship in their own way and in a manner respectful of others. 

Therefore, Mr. Prime Minister, we appreciate the steps you have immediately and subsequently announced to lay a path for the Government of Israel to assure freedom of prayer expression at the Kotel and expeditiously move forward on plans for greater access to worship areas for all streams of Judaism.

We stand ready to assist in addressing these issues of concern to you, the people of Israel and the Jewish people.  Our commitment is to an approach to be taken, through the unity of our wide coalition of American Zionists, so that all Jews and Zionists feel and remain connected to Israel and its capital Jerusalem as we commemorate 50 years of the reunification of Jerusalem and approach and honor the upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

Sincerely,

RDH Blue Signature--cropped

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Richard D. Heideman                  Herbert Block

President                                       Executive Director

 

Zionist Membership Organizations: American Forum of Russian Speaking Jewry  •  Ameinu  •  American Zionist Youth Council  •  AMIT  •  ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America)  •  Aytzim  •  Bnai Zion  •  Hadassah – The Women’s Zionist Organization of America  •  Herut – N.A. •  Mercaz–Zionist Organization of Conservative Judaism •  NA’AMAT –  USA  •  Partners for Progressive Israel  •  Religious Zionists of America  •  Zionist Organization of America   Affiliated Organizations: Baltimore Zionist District  • B’nai B’rith International  •  Friends of the Israel Scouts  •  Israel Forever Foundation  •  Jewish National Fund   Zionist Youth Movements: B’nei Akiva  •  BBYO (B’nai B’rith Youth Organization)  •  Habonim – Dror  •  Hashomer Hatzair  •  NFTY (National Federation of Temple Youth) • USY (United Synagogue Youth)  •  Young Judaea

Celebrate Israel Parade NY 2017 – Photos and Video