Religious : : Thoughts from Our Rabbi

We hope that you are keeping well! We miss seeing you together at our Temple, but know that we all need to keep our physical distance in order to do our best to combat COVID-19. Even though we cannot share a physical space together, Rabbi Dennis, Cantor Chazan & Susan Kotses would like to invite you to join us for virtual Shabbat Services on Fridays at 7:30 pm and Saturdays at 10am. We look forward to experiencing this new format with you, and sharing Shabbat together! Join by phone if your computer’s not so great.

We will be doing a shorter service that will still include plenty of opportunity for participation, including communal readings.

We are using an application called Zoom to facilitate our time together. Zoom is a video conferencing platform; you will be able to see and hear Rabbi and Cantor on your ZOOM screen, and we will all be able to see and hear each other! [though when Cantor or Susan are chanting we will be muted].

Election Results

Thanks to you and the outreach you did among your family, and friends, MERCAZ, the Conservative movement’s official slate, significantly increased its number of votes from previous elections. MERCAZ went from 9,850 votes in 2015 to 14,666 votes in this current election. That is an increase of almost 50%!

As a result of our efforts, we point with pride to the growing concern for religious pluralism, progress and equality in Israel among US Conservative Jews. There is no doubt that we care.

While our numbers increased, the overall number of votes increased by 118%. This was quite unprecedented and reflected aggressive campaigns by many existing slates as well as five new slates.

The total 2020 US World Zionist Congress Election preliminary vote count is 123,629 with the following distribution:

Vote Reform: 31,500 / Orthodox Israel Coalition/Mizrachi: 21,698
Eretz Hakodesh: 20,023 / MERCAZ USA: 14,666
ZOA Coalition: 10,313 / American Forum for Israel: 8,132
Hatikvah: 7,932 / Shas Olami: 2,046
Kol Yisrael: 1,752 / Dorshei Torah V’Tziyon: 1,373
Herut Zionists: 1,157 / Vision: 1,036
Americans4Israel: 857 / Israel Shelanu: 769 / Ohavei Zion: 375

There will be critical issues on the table when the Congress convenes in October 2020. We look forward to being able to achieve many of our goals by working in coalition with other groups that share our vision for promoting a pluralistic, democratic, progressive vision in Israel and around the world.

Thanks to you, MERCAZ will be sending a strong slate of delegates to represent our values at the Congress. Continued thanks for all the good work you did to turn out the vote and make sure our voice is heard in the upcoming World Zionist Congress.

Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky writes: “The last thing we need now is a mindset of mutual distancing. We actually need to be thinking in the exact opposite way. Every hand we don’t shake must become a phone call we make. Every embrace we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every distance and space we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might help that other, should the need arise.”

Just as the coronavirus is calling on us to double down on our physical distancing, we need to double down in the opposite direction. Instead of using this national pause to do more of what we already do, we need to go higher, deeper, find ways of helping others without physical contact. Stay safe and healthy.

B’vrachot, blessings, Rabbi Dennis