MERCAZ USA Newsletter — Spring 2013
Mercaz Inspires New WZO Hebrew Program
A decade ago, MERCAZ USA, as part of its ongoing agenda as the Zionist arm of the Conservative Movement, produced a new educational Hebrew language program, "Ivrit Masortit – An Exploration of Heritage Hebrew." Based on the exploration of Hebrew roots, the 10-part series was designed to introduce key value concepts in Judaism and a selection of words and phrases derived from the selected three-letter roots.
Now, ten years later, the World Zionist Organization has produced a new Hebrew language program, based on the format of "Ivrit Masortit," entitled “Ivrit Tsionit – Zionist Hebrew."
"Zionist Hebrew" is an exploration of the Jerusalem Program, the ideological foundation of the Zionist Movement, through an analysis of seven key words that underlie the preamble and six enumerated principles making up this basic unifying statement for all Zionist organizations and parties that are affiliated with the World Zionist Organization.
Written by Dr. David Breakstone, Vice Chairman of the World Zionist Organization and leader of MERCAZ Olami on the Zionist Executive, with help from Rabbi Miles Cohen, editor of the earlier MERCAZ Hebrew educational program, "Ivrit Tsionit – Zionist Hebrew" is, as Dr. Breakstone notes, "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."
Each of the seven lessons within "Zionist Hebrew" explores a different key Hebrew word which encapsulates an important value within the Jerusalem Program. Following the appropriate quotation from the Jerusalem Program, the program then provides a page-long exploration of the meaning of the value concept, followed by a page of vocabulary terms that are derived from the key word and a final page of practice exercises.
In order to make the new Hebrew program as widely available as possible, the entire kit has been uploaded to the World Zionist Organization’s website. Click here for free downloads.
The new educational program formally acknowledges that "Ivrit Tsionit was inspired by Ivrit Masortit, a unit developed by MERCAZ USA, the Zionist arm of Conservative Judaism, to which the World Zionist Organization and the American Zionist Movement express their appreciation for its cooperation in the production of this kit."
As Dr. Breakstone writes, "in creating this unit, the World Zionist Organization . . . hope[s] 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."