The American Zionist Movement launches the American Zionist Shabbat initiative calling Zionism and Judaism inseparable
(Tuesday, October 24, 2017) – Today, the American Zionist Movement (AZM), the American federation of Zionist groups and individuals affiliated with the World Zionist Organization, launched the American Zionist Shabbat initiative and sourcebook which will celebrate major Zionist milestones 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 issued on November 2, 1917 until the Shabbat after the commemoration of 70 years since the United Nations Partition Resolution adoption which occurred on November 29, 1947 (8 Cheshvan- 14 Kislev 5778).
The material is available at www.ZionistShabbat.org
AZM has begun this initiative in order to achieve greater dialogue within American Jewry on the significance of Zionism and its continuing relevance to the Jewish people and community. The materials and program will be distributed to community rabbis to speak about Zionism in their sermons, and writings; to assist day schools, yeshivot and Hebrew schools in connecting their students to Zionism as related to the weekly Torah readings; and, to assist congregations, community organizations and Jewish institutions which will share materials and encourage programs and discussions on Zionism.
“This week in Lech Lecha we learn that the first commandment given to a Jew relates to Israel and Zionism. Indeed, Zionism and Judaism are inseparable and we need to ensure that all Jews who are celebrating Shabbat around the world incorporate our common love for Israel – the land, the people and the culture – in the spirit of the unity of the Jewish people,” Richard D. Heideman, President of the AZM, said. “Unfortunately, for some, Zionism has become a dirty word and idea. However, if Zionism is a dirty word then Judaism must be likewise, because all of our Jewish sources, tradition and culture revolve around Israel, it is impossible to separate one from the other. We are working to ensure that the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty in our national, ancestral and indigenous homeland becomes a central part of the lives of all Jews, in Israel and throughout the diaspora.”
The AZM has compiled this initial virtual American Zionist Shabbat Sourcebook, drawn from materials developed and shared by our AZM organizations and others, in order to provide a resource for conversations on Zionism during this period of celebrating, implementing and expanding upon the concept of an American Zionist Shabbat.
“Shabbat is a time when Jews come together,” Herbert Block, Executive Director of the AZM, said. “The AZM hopes that a Zionist Shabbat will unite diverse supporters of Israel around the same “Shabbat table” to discuss why Zionism is so important for our Land and People.”
At the upcoming AZM National Conference in Washington on November 15-17, where Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, will address a Congressional Luncheon and where The Balfour Gala will celebrate one hundred years since the Balfour Declaration, there will be a session of dialogue among Rabbis from across the religious spectrum, which will include a discussion on incorporating the themes of the American Zionist Shabbat. The session will be called “Zionism Across the Spectrum” and will be chaired by AZM Past President, Rabbi Vernon Kurtz. That session, and many others including leaders selected from AZM organizations, will be announced shortly. Details of the conference can be seen at www.zionismforward.org
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.
For further information, please contact:
Herbert Block, AZM Executive Director
212-318-6100 ext 6946