Dear Bet Shalom,
If you only read one paragraph, read this one and follow the link to vote: The next World Zionist Congress convenes this coming October in Jerusalem. Our job now is to ensure that our Reform Jewish values are represented by voting for delegates who represent ARZA. Voting for delegates is open to those over age 18 (by June 30, 2020) who self-identify as Jewish and agree to the Jerusalem Program. Voting runs from January 21 through March 11. The website for voting is https://azm.org/elections. The cost of $7.50 covers administration of the voting.
In 1897, Theodor Herzl founded the Zionist Organization, today called the World Zionist Organization (WZO). More than 120 years later, the WZO remains the best way for Jews living outside Israel to have a real impact in Israel. Every five years, the WZO calls together a congress comprised of delegates from across the Jewish world. These delegates vote to determine how major funding will be distributed to organizations in the Land of Israel. A helpful article about the WZO was just published in the Forward.
As Reform Jews, our movement, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is represented by the Association of Reform Zionist of America (ARZA). For more information about ARZA, read the platform and slate.
More votes for ARZA equal more support for issues and values supported by Reform Jewry:
* Religious freedom and equality
* Personal status issues (marriage/divorce, conversion)
* Access to holy places (the Kotel)
* Commitment to a two-state solution
* Gender rights
* Combating racism
* Women’s leadership
* Support for Reform synagogues and education in israel
* Transparency in government funding
Over the next six weeks, let Bet Shalom’s voice be heard! We will have a table in our lobby with computers set up for voting and stickers for all who vote. Beginning on Sunday, January 26 there will a computer or ipad available in the Religious School lobby for voting. You can also vote from your phone! We will have a voting station available before services and at other synagogue meetings and programs.
In 2015, ARZA received 39% of the votes and 56 of 145 US delegates. That ultimately meant that $4 million a year ($20 million over five years) funded the Reform Movement in Israel.
To make that sacred mission a reality, we’re calling on each of you to speak out and have your voice heard – to Vote Reform in the World Zionist Congress elections. Your vote will support the Reform Movement in Israel, helping it grow and ensure Reform values. Your vote will help determine the leadership of important national Institutions, create partnerships with Israeli political parties and enabling us to have a voice in Israeli society.
Voting takes only 60 to 90 seconds. If you prefer, we will have paper copies of the ballot, and you can write a check to cover the voting cost. Please join me in this sacred task.
Rabbi David Locketz