This winter, the Birthright Israel Alumni community is launching an international "Take Back Zionism" campaign to inspire young Jews to redefine the word "Zionism" in light of their own ideals.
"Contemporary discourse seeks to narrowly define Zionism and attack it by limiting its scope," campaign organizers wrote on the website. "We refuse to accept others' definitions and misrepresentations. We seek to Take Back Zionism and define it in our own terms, as a young generation who loves Israel."
Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel will kick off the campaign February 1st by hosting a "Zionism is Humanitarianism" launch party. 1,000 birthright alumni will attend the New York gala to celebrate Zionism's contributions to global humanitarian work.
The event, which will also feature Birthright Israel co-founder Michael Steinhardt, will be broadcast live on the campaign's website at 7:30 EST. Special emphasis will be placed on Israel's Special Ops Humanitarian Task force and Israel's disaster relief work in Haiti, New Orleans and Sri Lanka.
The "Take Back Zionism" campaign stresses the history and diversity of the Zionist movement, stressing its connections to land, history, religion, politics, culture, national destiny, and self-determination.
On their website, Jews from across the world have been asked to offer definitions of Zionism that reflect their own experiences and feelings towards Israel. So far, over 250 definitions have been offered.
"Zionism is the past, the present, and the future of the Jewish people.," a participant wrote on the site. Another defined Zionism as "My identity. Who I am as a person. My one true home."
Comments from influential Jewish leaders and organizations are also featured on the website, where celebrity Rabbi Shmuely Boteach defined Zionism as "a reflection of the deep, inseparable, ancient and thoroughly modern Jewish attachment to the land of Israel," and the Green Zionist Alliance wrote that Zionism is "environmentalism."
To offer a new definition of Zionism or purchase tickets to the gala, visit the campaign's website