Hebrew Strengthens Jewish Identity

AlephHebrew is a key to fully understanding and appreciating Israeli culture. With that in mind, the World Zionist Organization and its American affiliate, the American Zionist Movement, are creating ways to bring American Jews closer to the Hebrew language. Model programs are being developed, including using the language to teach about aspects of Israeli society and culture. Three pilot programs will be launched, one in Chicago and two in New York, and will target young professionals and young families. These conversational and thematic programs will serve to engage constituents through immersion in Hebrew as well as through experiential activities. Other types of programs are also being explored, such as yoga in Hebrew and Hebrew mifgashim (encounters), social settings where people with Hebrew knowledge interact, play board games, eat and drink while “exercising” and “strengthening” their Hebrew – and their confidence.

AZM and WZO are also working to create a Hebrew Council, an umbrella organization for the various organizations, institutions, foundations and educators who teach or care about Hebrew. The Council will provide support and leadership to those involved in the strengthening of the language and who work to ensure its continuity.

There’s a rich history of how Hebrew words relate to Zionist concepts. Tzedakah, hesed, tikkun olam, am segullah, aliyah, and shalom are just a few of the myriad words and phrases that define who we are with meanings and associations that cannot be fully appreciated in translation. Learn more about their relationship with Zionism through Ivrit Tzionit (Zionist Hebrew – the Jerusalem Program), an AZM and WZO unit that delves into the roles of Hebrew and Zionism in our future.

Advocacy Training Seminar to be Held this June

flagsThe American Zionist Movement is partnering with MERCAZ, the Conservative Movement’s Israel advocacy arm, to sponsor special training seminar for a core group of Zionist and Israel Advocates .

The two day seminar will take place Sunday and Monday, June 9-10, at the Heritage Hotel, located in Southbury, CT.   The American Zionist Movement, working in cooperation with Mercaz, the World Zionist Organization and the Israeli Embassy, is now accepting applications from members of its organizations who wish to become local trainers or activists in the Israel advocacy field.

Participation in the Israel Advocacy Training Seminar is designed to provide key leadership with the resources, knowledge and skills to work with others in chapters, Jewish institutions and their local community to project Israel and Zionism in a positive light.   Participants will be expected to familiarize themselves with certain requisite materials in advance of the program in order to guarantee a common baseline of information.  In addition, all participants in the seminar will be invited to be involved in follow-up activities to insure continuity.

The application process requires at least one recommendation from another community leader who  can attest to the participant’s’ abilities and appropriateness for this particular program.

The cost of the 2-day seminar is $180, which includes 1 night accommodations (double occupancy) and 4 kosher meals (Sunday lunch, Sunday dinner, Monday breakfast, Monday lunch).

There is also be a reduced “walk-in” fee for local residents. Travel costs are extra; however, there may be some travel scholarships available depending on need. (Separate application required.)

Those not accepted for this initial seminar will be placed on a priority list for subsequent workshops.

If you or someone you know is interested in joining in this effort, go to https://www.azm.org/advocacy-reg

Astrith Baltsan Performs “Hatikvah”

Jaws dropped and tears ran as renowned Israeli concert pianist and music scholar Astrith Baltsan delved into the surprisingly storied history of Hatikvah, Israel’s national anthem, at a performance on April 10. Using slides, musical interludes and short videos, Baltsan narrated Hatikvah’s roots and its role in Israel today.

In her multimedia presentation, Balstan broke down Hatikvah into three parts: melody, lyrics and orchestration. Each element of the song, she said, proved the strength and unity of the Jewish people. She also detailed the histories of those involved in creating the song, and shared her research into those backgrounds.

The more than one hundred audience members were all astonished and fascinated by Hatikvah’s past. “Astrith was an outstanding storyteller, and by looking at the pictures and movies of our Zionist history we remembered and fell in love with Hatikvah,” said Marlene Post. It’s a meaningful and captivating experience, agreed Mindy Stein. “[We felt] the undying hope, through years of exile, to be a free people in our land!”

“Hatikvah” was sponsored by the American Zionist movement, the World Zionist Organization and the Consulate General of Israel in New York.

Asthrith Baltsan Presents “Hatikva” in New York City

This program is now fully subscribed and we cannot accept more reservations.

If you would like to hear Astrith Baltsan, and enjoy her entire 90 minute Hatikva program, we suggest you take advantage of her

April 11th performance of Hatikvah: Hope Reborn

Temple Israel
7:30 PM
112 E. 75th Street

To purchase tickets, please call: 212.415.5500

Or visit:  http://www.92y.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=91544





Take a mesmerizing journey on April 10th through the background and history of Israel’s national anthem, HaTikva.  Through a multi-media presentation, pianist Asthrith Baltsan reveals Hatikvah’ s past and its path to becoming the song of the Jewish People.

Register today


flyer for Hatkiva program

More Than 1000 Mishloach Manot Delivered to Southern Israel for Purim

Children in costume at NAAMAT centerFor more than 25 years, the American Zionist Movement has proudly been donating mishloach manot (traditional Purim gift baskets) to Israeli children and soldiers for Purim. Because of the numerous recent attacks faced by those living in the south of Israel, this year AZM focused on Ashkelon and its surrounding areas in order to show solidarity with residents there. More than 1,000 mishloach manot were distributed to a variety of organizations and community centers in need of extra support.

AZM donated the majority of mishloach manot to organizations in and around Ashkelon related to children. Children at Neve Hanna, a children’s home located in Kiryat Gat, and in the children’s ward of Barzilai Hospital, were delighted to receive their candy and noisemakers. The gifts enhanced the Purim celebration at the Kehillat Netzach Israel Ashkelon Preschool as well as at several NA’AMAT daycare centers. At the Ashkelon Family Nest, which assists young mothers and their children, recipients both enjoyed the surprise and were educated on the importance of volunteering and helping others. Ethiopian immigrant children at the Beit Canada Absorption Center celebrated Purim for the first time, and their mishloach manot made the experience even more exciting.

As in the past, in conjunction with Yashar LaChayal, an organization that provides necessities to soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, AZM donated mishloach manot to soldiers on Israel’s front lines. Lone Soldiers who are based in the Ashkelon area also were recipients of AZM gifts.

The mishloach manot were distributed by Marty and Terri Davis, who, in their capacity as Ashkelon community activists, are passionate about helping their community. In a letter of thanks to AZM, they shared how important the packages were to recipients.

[The mishloach manot] put smiles on the faces of many children and Soldiers. Try to imagine a child in the hospital missing out on the Purim festivities and, from over the ocean, special gifts arrive to help them celebrate! Even those with serious health problems were able to smile.…For us it is an emotional experience, and we would like to thank AZM on behalf of all the children and soldiers in Ashkelon for bringing them such joy and happiness.

 To help AZM continue its mission of supporting and promoting Zionism, donate here.

Learn Some Hebrew Words and Roots;Learn About Zionism As Well


This unit was written by Dr. David Breakstone
in association with Rabbi Miles B. Cohen
This publication is not going to make anyone fluent in either the Hebrew language or Zionist ideology. It does aim, however, to convey the vital importance of both to the future of the Jewish people.

Just as fidelity to the Hebrew language was a key to our redemption from Egypt (Midrash Vayikra Rabba 32:5), so, too, was it a key to our survival throughout the long exile from our homeland. Dispersed to the four corners of the earth, our diligence in continuing to study and pray in Hebrew united us in a collective bond to our common inheritance and its values. Tzedakah, hesed, tikkun olam, am segullah, aliyah, and shalom are just a few of the myriad words and phrases that define who we are with meanings and associations that cannot be fully appreciated in translation. And then a century ago, by virtue of the assiduousness of our forebears throughout the generations, the early Zionists were able to revive Hebrew as a dynamic language enabling those returned onto Zion to conjoin not only with their heritage but also with one another. Enlarging the circle of those able to do so is fundamental to the Zionist vision, predicated as it is on the unity of the Jewish people.


Naturally, then, this conviction is integral to The Jerusalem Program, the ideological foundation of the Zionist Movement. It consists of a basic statement of principles to which all who would call themselves Zionists are bidden to agree, a unifying statement pulling together into a single force those holding a broad spectrum of diverse beliefs and ideologies but who together comprise a single, cohesive World Zionist Organization. It also establishes the tone and direction of Zionism today, as subscribing to it not only affirms one’s belief in the right of the Jewish people to a state and homeland of its own, but also expresses our hopes and aspirations for the society we would wish to create there, as well as for the relationship we would like to see develop between the Jewish state and the Jewish people everywhere.


In creating this unit, then, the World Zionist Organization and its affiliate, the American Zionist Movement, hope to stimulate those using it to engage in a deeper exploration of the ideological underpinnings of Zionism and the richness of the Hebrew language, and to see both as treasures to be embraced and embedded in their own lives.


CoverZionistHebrew Intro The lessons of עִבְרִית צִיּוֹנִית – Zionist Hebrew are designed in a modular fashion so that they may be used in a variety of venues, ranging from a 10-minute opening of a meeting or event to a series of 45-minute sessions. Read more
CoverZionistHebrew Lesson 1 Learn about the meaning of Tokhnit תָּכְנִית in The Jerusalem Program. Read more
CoverZionistHebrew Lesson 2 Learn about the meaning of Ahdut אַחְדוּת in The Jerusalem Program. Read more
CoverZionistHebrew Lesson 3 Learn about the meaning of Aliyah עֲלִיָּה in The Jerusalem Program. Read more
CoverZionistHebrew Lesson 4 Learn about the meaning of Hevra חֶבְרָה in The Jerusalem Program. Read more
CoverZionistHebrew Lesson 5 Learn about the meaning of Lashon לָשׁוֹן in The Jerusalem Program. Read more
CoverZionistHebrew Lesson 6 Learn about the meaning of Hagannah הֲגַנָּה in The Jerusalem Program. Read more
CoverZionistHebrew Lesson 7Learn about the meaning of Yishuv יִשּׁוּב in The Jerusalem Program. Read more



Monopolity: The Fun Game of Israeli Politics

Do Israeli politics confuse you?  Do you understand what happened in the elections and why?
Who won and who is Yair Lapid, anyway ? What is a coalition negotiation?monopolity-2-6

The WZO: Department of Diaspora Activities presents Monopolity– a life-size game board and simulation of the political parties and issues in Israel today.

Monopolity is a fun, inter active game that explores the complexities of the Israeli Society and Knesset! Using the game, you can debate and discuss some of the major issues in Israeli society: State vs. Religion, Peace & Security , Immigration, the Israel-Diaspora relations, to name a few.  It  is suitable for a wide variety of venues and groups, including Hillels, youth movements, congregations, Jewish Day Schools and supplementary schools, and other Jewish communal settings for adults as well as students.

The 2013 Israeli elections that took place last month create a great opportunity to educate, learn, and stay up to date with the current political realities in Israel. In that light, the WZO has prepared a special Monopolity supplement that simulates the ongoing process of coalition building and government formation. This activity will help participants understand the meaning of the election results and connect to the political negotiations that are occurring in Israel right now.

By ordering the kit, you will receive the board game, information cards, game pieces of real Israeli party leaders, fake money, dice, and leader’s guide.

If you order Monopolity now for your community, you will receive the supplemental activity for FREE!

In addition, the WZO can work with you to train you for facilitation or can help you find a facilitator for your program. (dependent on location, there may be a cost)

Special AZM 25% discount: The original price of the kit is $120.00 plus shipping. The special AZM discount price is only $90.00!

Purchase today on PayPal 

Mark Tisha b’Av With A Zionist Perspective

Tisha b’Av and Zionism

Romans Sacking JerusalemThe observance of Tisha b’Av Saturday night July 28 and Sunday, July 29, gives us the opportunity to focus on the connection between the destructions of the Holy Temples in Jerusalem and, thus, our connection to the Land of Israel.  Zionism arose out of the longing of exiled Jews for their Homeland.  Our leaders kept the exiles focused on what they had lost and have not let them forget. And we did not forget.  We returned from exile to Eretz Yisrael many times, building a country 2,000 years later.

The American Zionist Movement and the World Zionist Organization presents this series of readings that emphasize the connection of Zionism to the messages of Tisha b’Av.  Despite the proximity to 9 Av, please add them to your readings this year or use them in your private contemplation. In every case, please disseminate them to your members as soon as possible.

May the fast for those who so choose be an easy one.

Purim 2012 Brings Gifts and Goodies Front-line Soldiers and Children

The 2012 Purim Connection was another stunning success with lots of thank yous coming in from across Israel.

AZM with help from AMIT, Mercaz,  and many individuals and synagogues across the country brought Purim joy to schools in Kiryat Malachi, soldiers in the front line units across the country, and to many Lone Soldiers (IDF soldiers who serve without the support of their families.)


An important part of our Purim Connection is the role that young Jews studying or volunteering in Israel play in the packaging and delivery of the Purim mishloach manot. This year’s volunteers from Magshimey Herut, Habonim-Dror and the kibbutz ulpan program were all on extended stays in Israel as part of  MASA Israel Journey programs.  Among the volunteers to AZM’s Purim Connection were: Raphael Falk,  Andrew DuFour,  Benjamin Scholom, Brett Godette, Yossi Cohen,  Izzy Eisen,  and Eugene Kikoin.

One of the Lone Soldiers, Gidi, who received an AZM Purim package posted on the Kehillat Netzach’s Facebook Page, expressing his happiness and gratitude. When you see comments like these you know how important it is to participate in these programs:


Some More Questions for Your Passover Table

Mt Herzl Flyer

Beit Ha’am Passover Edition

An important part of the Passover tradition is the discussion and debate of the haggadah. It is also a tradition to add new elements into the haggadah.  To provide additional Zionist context to this year’s seder, the World Zionist Organization and AZM offer some songs and texts to be read and considered, as well as some questions to help families put the materials into the Zionist context.

The texts are part of David Ben-Gurion‘s speech at the Peel Commission; the song Out of Egypt (hear it and see it on YouTube) by Alma Zohar, which connects the Jews’ departure from Egypt to the Promised Land to today’s African refugees in Israel; and a reflection by Ze’ev Jabotinsky on the “Four Sons” from the Haggadah. The themes and questions raised in the materials include the collective memory of the Jews, whether Israel helps or impedes the concept of peoplehood, whether the Jews living in Israel and those living outside of Israel are one people,  if Jews throughout the world share a “common denominator,” and more. These questions will help your family and friends reflect on their Zionist identity and their connections to Israel and the Jewish People.

The supplement is available in English, Hebrew, and Spanish. Click below to download yours! Use it at your seder and share it with your friends and neighbors.


Passover 2012-English

Passover 2012-Hebrew

Passover 2012-Spanish

Also download the Zionist Dayenu, available here.

See the Alma Zohar video Out of Egypt here: