Why You Should Vote in the World Zionist Congress Elections
Since stepping down as president of the Union for Reform Judaism in 2012, I have spent most of my time writing and lecturing.
The topics that I deal with most often are Israel and the Middle East and the ways in which American Jews engage with the Jewish state. As a deeply committed Zionist, I take special pride in the work that I and others have done to strengthen ties with Israel and Reform Judaism in Israel. I have always believed that there must be an Israel, and that any distancing from Israel for any reason whatsoever is Jewishly unacceptable. It flies in the face of everything that we know about Jewish commitment and Jewish history.
Nonetheless, I have real concerns about Israel’s future. I am concerned about the growing rift between the U.S. and Israel, as well as the likely return of the ultra-Orthodox parties to Israel’s governing coalition. I am concerned about settlement expansion beyond the green line and the fact that liberal Jews cannot be married by Reform rabbis in Israel or pray according to Reform custom at the Western Wall. Souls that for 2000 years have longed for Zion and Jerusalem must not be denied the right to see Israel’s holy places as their own. And the Torah, the spiritual legacy of the entire Jewish people, should never become an instrument of coercion, discrimination, or political fanaticism.
Still, as real as these problems are, when it comes to Israel, I remain filled with hope. Israel is a good country in a bad neighborhood where most people, most of the time, care about justice and work for peace. And our Reform Movement in Israel is Israel at its best. It offers us a glimpse of what Israel is capable of and how we, as Reform Jews, can transform Israel’s reality. Many things inspire me about Israel, but I am especially inspired by the Israel Religious Action Center, led by Anat Hoffman, and by the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, the organization of Reform congregations in Israel. They have succeeded in making changes – real changes – on the ground and in the political realm.
Now, I am asking you to help with that change. Help our movement stateside make a significant impact in Israel by casting your vote for ARZA: Representing Reform Judaism in the World Zionist Congress elections. It is a simple way to both connect to Israel and to make your voice count, and we need every Reform Jew to stand up and be counted here. Israel is too precious and too much is at stake right now. As I recently wrote:
We must “…say to the Jewish people: A Jewish state living in peace with her neighbors is the heart of the Zionist dream. Even if the dream cannot be realized now, we must not squander this inheritance. We must guard it, nurture it, and grow it into a treasure for future generations.”
Let’s do that now by voting for ARZA in the World Zionist Congress elections. Cast your ballot and help us make that dream a reality.