Religious : : Thoughts from Our Rabbi

Why Vote? BECAUSE ELECTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES.

Every 5 years American Jews have the opportunity to vote in the World Zionist Congress and have influence in a way that American Jews rarely have in Israel. While this may seem like a small arcane election – in fact – critical decisions, influential positions, reputational influence, and funding for Masorti are all at stake in this coming election.

Israelis will watch this election as a bell-weather of where the American electorate stands. It is critical for them to see a strong vibrant vote from the American Conservative movement of Judaism. To take a stand sign up at MERCAZ2020.org

Our work in Israel is important. More and more Israelis are seeking out alternatives to Orthodox Judaism and the Conservative/Masorti Movement offers them an alternative. Conservative/Masorti Judaism has hit important milestones in Israel:

– Over 80 kehillot and minyanim across Israel provide religious services, educational programs, lifecycle events, and community service opportunities with over 800 B’nai Mitzvah yearly.

– 1,000+ egalitarian services yearly at the Masorti Family Kotel with over 100,000 people participating in these services.

– Explosive growth of the Conservative Movement Youth Group – NOAM, with more than 700 youth participating in the Ramah Summer Camp program this past summer.

– Adraba – The Shirley Lowy Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities is a driving force behind an array of Jewish empowerment and inclusion opportunities. Over 200 children and young people with disabilities have been able to participate in the typical Jewish and social experiences annually and over 5,000 kids to date.

– Jewish Pluralism Watch ensures that all Jews are fully recognized, Masorti rabbis are accorded full legal status, and Jews by choice are recognized as fully Jewish and that Masorti congregations receive proportionate and fair funding from the state.

The ultra-Orthodox factions in power have blocked attempts to advance religious freedom at almost every turn. Even more egregious – they have succeeded in blocking the Israeli Government from delivering on major agreements to expand the egalitarian Kotel. This election gives us the opportunity to continue the fight for religious pluralism for all Jews, throughout Israel including – the recognition of Conservative/Masorti Rabbis and recognition of the lifecycle events and conversions they perform; full egalitarian rights of women; and a continuation of the unfettered right of return for all Jews around the world.

B’vrachot, blessings, Rabbi Dennis