Reform Judaism Scores a Decisive Victory in Crucial Election
The Reform Movement’s slate for the 2015 World Zionist Congress elections won by a wide margin, according to results released Thursday. The Reform Movement’s ARZA slate won 56 out of the United States’ 145 possible seats (or 39% of the vote), which was more than the second and third place numbers of seats combined.
The ARZA slate, which was run in conjunction with the Reconstructionist Movement, was the only slate run by a Jewish denomination that did not lose seats from the previous elections in 2006; in fact, ARZA gained two seats. ARZA will take its delegation to 37th World Zionist Congress this October, the first convening of the body since 2010. The Congress works with Israeli agencies to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for religious and civil society projects.
ARZA President Rabbi Josh Weinberg responded the election results on Thursday,
“The sweeping victory for Progressive Judaism is a clear reflection of our love and commitment to the people and the State of Israel. It demonstrates our desire to strengthen the fundamental democratic principles of the State of Israel and work toward a more religiously pluralistic and just society. Together with the Reconstructionist Movement, we campaigned on important issues such as religious freedom, gender equality, and support for a two state solution. Now we can proudly say that our delegation – the largest of the U.S. by far – will come together in October in Jerusalem to express our passion and involvement as well as our concern for the future.”
His sentiment was echoed by Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, who says that the Reform Movement’s success “comes at a critical moment for Israel.”