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Vote Your Values – and Change the World

Vote Your Values – and Change the World

Israeli flags blowing in the wind

Jews have had a connection to the land of Israel for thousands of years – yet today, according to many polls, a majority of American Jews are a lot more hesitant to engage with Israel than past generations. Many are distraught over political realities in Israel but feel as though they don’t have the power to make a difference.

This is inaccurate, though. We all have a say in our Jewish future and what values guide Israel and world Jewry – and you don’t have to be a spectator. You can help choose what our future looks like by voting in the World Zionist Congress elections.

The World Zionist Congress was first convened by Theodor Herzl in 1897. Described as the Parliament of the Jewish People, it comprises 500 delegates and meets in Jerusalem every five years. It enables delegates to exert ideological influence on both Israeli society and the global Jewish agenda, as well as allocate financial and other resources to various organizations in Israel.

As of January 20, 2020, the World Zionist Congress elections are here, and it is time to have our voices heard in Israel! Each and every vote is crucial to maintaining a strong Reform presence.

If the Reform Slate gains enough votes, we can influence the disbursement of millions of dollars and put leaders in place that will enable us to ensure that decisions about government and public spending over the Green Line, including land purchases, reflect Reform Judaism’s values and positions.

This is the way we can continue to build a democratic society in Israel that truly reflects the Jewish values we hold dear: pluralism, equality, economic justice, and peace.

Yes, we care for this foundational work of equality within the Jewish community. This is our chance to combat the discrimination the Reform Movement faces in Israel. Together we can grow our Reform Movement and work towards making progress on the issues we care about.

And let’s be clear: Our slate understands that religious equality is not where our work for a better Israel ends - but it must be where it begins.

As long as there are members of Israeli society who easily write off Reform Jews, they will not hesitate to write off people of other faiths and nationalities, as well. Our fight for equality needs to start within our Jewish family. We must begin our path to equality by fighting for all Jews to be recognized and treated equally.

This is just the beginning, though. We will not stop until we are proud of how we treat all of Israel's citizens and neighbors.

As a candidate on the slate, I’m proud of the strength and diversity of the Reform and Reconstructionist Slate, and I’m asking you to help me get out the vote.

It is a great honor to be included on the slate. It means I could have the opportunity to travel to Israel and be a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in October 2020 and proudly represent all of us. I need every person to vote Reform and help get me there – so I’m personally asking each and every person to vote Reform. In doing so, you can help change the world.

Your vote in this election is the only democratic opportunity you have to influence Israeli society. Don't be silent. Vote your values. Vote Reform!

To do so, visit azm.org/elections, then follow these instructions:

  1. Click the “Voter Registration” button.
  2. Fill in your information and submit the form.
  3. Check your email or SMS to receive your verification number and enter the number you received.
  4. Proceed to payment and hit submit. The fee to register and vote is $7.50, which covers the administrative costs of running the election. (Voters age 25 and under pay $5.00.)
  5. You are now registered to vote! In a few moments, you will receive a PIN by email or SMS.
  6. To begin the voting process, enter the PIN found in your email from registration.
  7. Select the Reform slate (listed second); it will say “Vote Reform: ARZA Representing the Reform Movement and Reconstructing Judaism.”
  8. Submit your vote.

That’s it! It’s that easy – so go vote now. Vote Reform, and help change the world.

Voting is open now until March 11, 2020. Learn more about the Reform slate at arza.org.

Rabbi Samantha Kahn serves Temple Sinai in Sarasota, FL. With additional degrees in nonprofit management and Jewish communal service, she is an experienced preacher, teacher, counselor, facilitator, innovative programmer and confidant. Rabbi Kahn has also served as San Francisco Bay Area director for InterfaithFamily; director of Sherith Littles at Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco, CA; and assistant rabbi of Congregation Emanu El in Houston, TX, where she was nicknamed the “Chief Engagement Officer” for her warm presence and ability to create meaningful connections.

Rabbi Samantha Kahn
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