There is an important election coming up that will determine the future of the Jewish people. Yes, I am referring to the next Israeli Knesset ballot in only a few weeks, but also to a vote that any American Jew can participate in right now. Until March 11, the polls are open for the election of the US delegation to the 38th World Zionist Congress (WZC), which determines the leadership of major Jewish organizations and how nearly $5 billion is distributed.
The WZC was created by Theodor Herzl in 1897 to bring together the worldwide Zionist movement. Many important decisions have been made at the gatherings, including the one at the Sixth Zionist Congress not to pursue a Jewish homeland in Uganda, but rather to make the land of Israel the sole focus of the movement.
Israeli delegates to the Congress will be determined by the Knesset elections March 2nd, while in America a separate online vote is currently taking place. For a $7.50 fee, you can cast your ballot and help determine the future of Israel and the Jewish People. The WZC determines how some money distributed by the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency, organizations that continue to make an impact in Israel and all over the world.
We support strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist, and democratic state, and endeavor to shape it as an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character rooted in the vision of the Hebrew prophets. We envision a society that is democratic and pluralistic, that recognizes and empowers all streams of Jewish practice, and that guarantees the civil and political rights of all of its citizens.
If you agree with that vision for Israel, one where the Conservative movement can thrive in an environment of freedom, where an authentic and modern Judaism inspires the next generation, then you should vote the MERCAZ slate. Conservative Judaism in Israel has flourished the last few decades despite the fact that its rabbis are not recognized by the state and can’t perform weddings and other lifecycle rituals. With more representation at the WZC, we can have even more success.
In the last election only about 1% of eligible American Jews voted. Too often we complain about our leaders and the establishment, blaming them for our ills, but how often do we take the initiative and try and make a difference with our actions? The WZC elections are a simple way to effect real change. Let your voice be heard!