About Us

Connecting you with Israel.

Nurturing the bonds between you and the State of Israel.

Baltimore Zionist District (BZD) uses its direct Israeli connection as a home base for the creation of cultural and political programs and educational activities which deal with all aspects of Zionism and modern Israeli life. 

Our Mission

“To foster knowledge and understanding of the State of Israel, to facilitate dialogue, to raise awareness, to advocate for a secure future for Israel and nurture the bonds between our local community and Israel.”

BZD-Baltimore Zionist District is a Zionist organization. As anti-Israel propagandists and anti-Semites try to transform the word ‘Zionism’ into a badge of shame or disgrace, we Zionists won’t allow them to do so.  That said, what is Zionism?
 
“Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. According to Zionism, it is the common responsibility of the Jewish people for its continuity and future to ensure a Jewish, Zionist, democratic and secure State of Israel. It was Zionism that brought about the State of Israel’s establishment.”
 
BZD supports the government of Israel, irrespective of which party is in power. 
BZD is not aligned with any political or religious ideology.

Our History

As a Baltimore-based Zionist organization, BZD’s roots can be traced back at least 100 years!  Few other Jewish organizations, locally or nationally, can boast that kind of longevity.  Since its inception, we have been a proud and active member of the American Zionist Movement. We also continue to be represented at executive meetings of the World Zionist Organization. In 1994, BZD became an independent Zionist organization, the largest in the US.

Over the decades, a few BZD (and its predecessor organization Zionist Organization of America- Baltimore District) leaders distinguished themselves by rising to national prominence.  Alleck A. Resnick became National ZOA President as did W. James Schiller who also rose to become National President, American Zionist Movement, as well as National Treasurer and Vice-President, Jewish National Fund. Ronald Weitzman served as National Treasurer of ZOA.

Zionism Today

BZD-Baltimore Zionist District is, as its name suggests, a Zionist organization.  Today, unfortunately, anti-Israel propagandists and anti-Semites have tried to hijack the word ‘Zionism’ and transform it into a badge of shame or disgrace.  We Zionists refuse to allow others to define us.  As such, it is entirely appropriate to ask ourselves what is the purpose of Zionism?For the answer, we need look no further than to the American Zionist Movement for some insights.

Our Partners

BZD is proud to partner with organizations that share BZD’s mission to foster knowledge and understanding of the state of Israel, to facilitate dialogue, to raise awareness, and to advocate for a secure future for Israel.
 

Our Staff

Our staff represents a unique blend of talents, personalities, and world views that help make us such a diverse and creative organization.

Caren Leven

Executive Director
Carenl@bzdisrael.org
Ext. 100
Meet Caren Leven our new Executive Director. Prior to coming to the BZD, Leven – Who grew up here in Baltimore, but was born and raised in Haifa Israel, is fluent in both English and Hebrew — She spent five years as the Director Of Congregational Engagement at Temple Oheb Shalom. At the Pikesville congregation, she led community outreach efforts and created, revamped and implemented hundreds of community-based, marketing campaigns. Working with volunteers and lay leadership, she significantly grew membership during her tenure, In addition, Caren has extensive experience in sales and account management. “I was attracted to the [BZD] because Israel holds a very special place in my heart, I was born and raised in Haifa and came to the United States when I was 10 years old — exactly 30 years ago. Although I have spent most of my life here, a piece of me was left behind. Now, my life has come full circle”. Caren is a graduate of Towson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Marketing, She lives in Pikesville with her husband, Jon, their two children, Ayden and Ava, and their dog, Lulu.

Adi Ratzon

Israel Shlicha
Adi@bzdisrael.org
Ext. 101
Adi Ratzon was born in 1990 and grew up in Ramat Gan, Israel. Adi was part of the “Maccabi Tzair” Youth Movement throughout her childhood and she worked with kids and teens. After finishing High School, Adi chose to do a year of voluntary social service in the city of Beer Sheva instead of drafting right away. In 2009, Adi drafted into the IDF, where she served in the Karkal Unit, which is a unique co-ed combat unit based in Southern Israel. She was also a part of a unique program called Garin Nahal which was run through the Education Corp. After a year and a half of combat service, she moved to the southern city of Kiryat Gat, where she volunteered with difficult teenagers for a year. Adi spent her entire life with the Maccabi Youth Movement, so it was only fitting that after her army service, she rejoined and worked for them for six years. Adi holds a BA in Psychology and Sociology from the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yafo. Adi is now the Shlicha for the Baltimore Zionist District and is excited to bring the Israeli culture and feeling to the Baltimore community.

Kristian Jones

Administrative Assistant
Office@bzdisrael.org
Ext. 106
Kristian Jones was born in 1995, and grew up in Baltimore, MD. After attending high school, she decided on furthering her education at Frostburg State University. She grew an interest in business administration, and accounting. During her time in college, she often took on relevant internships and employment to further her experience in these fields and satisfy her joy for learning and helping others. She is really drawn to BZD, and the positive sense of community in the Israeli culture. Learning and being a part of an organization that operates with great commitment and humility has really inspired her, and sparked a great interest in the prospects of watching the Baltimore and Israeli community come together.