If you have voted Reform in the World Zionist Congress elections already. Thank you.
If members of your extended household have also voted – GREAT!
If you or they have not voted (every Jew over the age of 18 is eligible to vote), I ask you to vote now for “Reform” in the World Zionist Congress. Here is the link to register and vote – www.ZionistElection.org – Simply follow all prompts. It will take you 90 seconds. The $7.50 charge is an administrative charge only. Please forward this to your children and grandchildren over the age of 18.
Here is vital information about the World Zionist Congress and why it is so important that we as Reform and Reconstructionist American Jews vote en masse for our Reform slate in this election.
What is the World Zionist Congress?
The World Zionist Congress (WZC) is the World Zionist Organization’s (WZO) legislative body (the parliament of the Jewish people) that meets every five years in Jerusalem. The Congress is the only body in which all of World Jewry is represented democratically, and, therefore, is our only American Jewish democratic opportunity to influence Israeli society. The larger our Reform vote in this election in the American Zionist movement the more influence we will have as American Reform Jews in Israeli society and the more funds our Israeli Reform movement will receive from the WZO.
What do the World Zionist Congress (WZC) and World Zionist Organization (WZO) do?
- The WZC determines policy on a wide range of important issues in Israel, designates its course of action, and chooses the leadership of the World Zionist Organization.
- The WZC makes decisions that affect the status of Reform and progressive Jews in Israel and across the world.
- The WZO allocates considerable funding available to Progressive Reform Jews in Israel!!!
- Our Israeli Reform movement (called “The Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism – IMPJ”) currently receives $4 million annually from the WZO based on our success in the last WZC election five years ago. The Israeli Reform movement receives no funds from the government of Israel. The government, however, gives hundreds of millions of Israeli shekels to Israeli Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox synagogues and yeshivot. If we increase our Reform presence in the WZC with a larger vote total this year in the American Zionist Movement delegation we can increase funding substantially to our Israel Reform movement, our Israeli Reform congregations, our Israeli Reform rabbis, and social justice programs that our movement in Israel fights on behalf of religious pluralism, civil marriage, conversion rights, women’s and LGBTQ rights, justice for asylum seekers, poverty, and a shared society with Israeli-Arab citizens.
I’m proud of the strength and diversity of the Reform and Reconstructionist Slate, and I’m asking you to help me get out the vote and support egalitarianism, pluralism, and peace in Israel.
I am a candidate on the Reform slate and I will have the opportunity to travel to Israel and be a delegate in the World Zionist Congress in October 2020.
You can read the Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism platform here.
Polls are open NOW through March 11, 2020. Please vote and ask every Jew in your household over the age of 18 to vote along with you. Please pass this blog along to anyone, family and friends, who you believe will be moved to vote.
Thank you in advance.
Rabbi John Rosove
#VoteReformWZC – www.ZionistElection.org
[Dr. Windmueller analyzes the new trends and issues facing the Jewish world today. This is an important article that I urge every concerned Jew to read his entire blog at The Times of Israel – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/the-conversations-we-jews-will-need-to-have/]
“We are in a new time! The Jewish world will require a reset button that allows us to enter a new phase of dialogue and engagement
The beliefs that many of us had constructed about our community, this nation and ourselves appear to be coming undone! For the baby-boomer generation, these defining assumptions appear to be no longer valid:
- For many of us the prophetic tradition provided us with the framework and inspiration for promoting a more progressive society.
- We envisioned our Judaism and our Americanism in consort with one another.
- We believed that each generation saw itself building upon the next.
- Finally, we held to the belief that anti-Semitism, especially in the United States, was relegated to another era.
Today, the question may be whether any of these four propositions are valid. Within my generational cohort, the principles themselves may not necessarily be shared. For younger American Jews other parallel ideas most likely have defined their generational beliefs…
Change is upon us. The test will be whether we as a people are prepared to initiate these necessary conversations around renewing our contract with America and re-envisioning the Jewish future. The former ought to be seen as essential to the welfare of this democracy. Without the latter, events and issues may well overwhelm us, making our communal voice irrelevant and leaving our institutions out of touch with the emerging demographic realities and cultural shifts that will dominate this century.
Absent a serious remapping of the Jewish communal agenda and a collective refocusing on the structural and organizational framework that will be required to sustain and serve 21st American Jews, we will likely not be prepared to deal with either the external challenges or internal demands that are emerging before us.”
Steven Windmueller, Ph.D. is the Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk Emeritus Professor of Jewish Communal Service at the Jack H. Skirball Campus of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. Prior to coming to HUC, Dr.Windmueller served for ten years as the JCRC Director of the LA Jewish Federation. Between 1973-1985, he was the director of the Greater Albany Jewish Federation (now the Federation of Northeastern New York). He began his career on the staff of the American Jewish Committtee. The author of four books and numerous articles, Steven Windmueller focuses his research and writings on Jewish political behavior, communal trends, and contemporary anti-Semitism.
“Michael Bloomberg is coming under fire for many things, including his role in overseeing the New York City Police Department at the height of its stopping, questioning and frisking young black and brown men.
There’s a distorted story being told. I want to explain what I saw up close.”
The Reverend Michel Faulkner served as pastor of New Horizon Church in New York City. He is now executive director of the Philadelphia Council of Clergy.
Issues are important. Ideology is important. But, over and above these two concerns, the most important matter come November is what candidate can beat Donald Trump for the presidency.
I am endorsing Mike Bloomberg for President for many substantive reasons, as I list below. However, I have chosen to support him first and foremost because I believe he is the only candidate (among many outstanding candidates) who can beat Trump and begin to reject Trumpism from the body politic.
The state of our democracy, the issues of climate, guns, healthcare, a livable minimum wage, criminal justice reform, immigration reform, education, a women’s right to choose, justice for black, brown, and immigrant communities, the advance of science, knowledge, and technology, the respect for facts and truth-telling, a sane foreign policy that restores America’s alliances, the return to the Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Paris Climate Accord, among other things all are at stake in this election.
Thomas Friedman’s column Paging Michael Bloomberg – Democrats need to nominate the right person to prevent Trump from winning a second term – https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/11/opinion/bloomberg-president-2020.html is must reading.
In ways no other candidate does, Mike Bloomberg inspires confidence in his executive abilities. He has a proven track record as a successful businessman who created from nothing a massive company of 20,000 employees and served three terms as Mayor of New York City, the largest and most diverse city in America.
As Mayor his accomplishments are extensive. He reduced incarceration by 40% and juvenile confinement by more than 60%. He brought down the rates of domestic violence. He narrowed the black-white achievement gap by 23%. He increased affordable housing. He reduced the number of uninsured New Yorkers by nearly 50%. He achieved NYC’s cleanest air quality in 50 years. He persuaded NY State Republicans to pass marriage equality. He was the first to officiate at a same gender marriage.
As a philanthropist, Bloomberg helped close half the nation’s dirty coal plants. He took on big tobacco and led the charge to cut teen smoking in half. He protected a woman’s right to choose and wrote a quarter-million dollar check to Planned Parenthood when it had a shortfall. He took on the NRA with Mayors Against Illegal Guns and then Every town for Gun Safety — a grassroots coalition that made the difference in turning so many states blue in the recent midterms. He contributed more money to black female candidates in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections than any individual. His Young Men’s Initiative helped black and Latino youth with education, employment, and health care and became the model for President Obama’s national program, My Brother’s Keeper.
I had two concerns about Bloomberg, both of which have been put to rest. First, he is doing teshuvah (repentance) concerning his stop and frisk policy as Mayor. It’s important to understand that he turned to that policy after being approached by black and brown mothers begging him to do something about gun violence in their New York communities. He reduced the murder rate in NYC dramatically due to this policy. But his policy was a blanket brush stroke against all black and brown young men and therefore grossly unfair and racist. He has been apologizing for the hurt he caused and has been meeting — away from any cameras — with black pastors, mayors, and New Yorkers, listening to their stories, their pain, and to their recommendations. Last week, after a meeting with thirty African-American Christian clergy, they issued the following statement:
“While Donald Trump was calling Mike Bloomberg a racist, Mike was continuing his conversation with African-American clergy from around the country. He expressed regret over his past insensitivity regarding policies like stop and frisk, and showed a continued interest in restorative justice. To be clear: None of us believe that Mike Bloomberg is a racist. Actions speak louder than words, and Mike has a long record of fighting for equality, civil rights, and criminal justice reform.”
The black mayors supporting Bloomberg include Houston’s Sylvester Turner, Philadelphia’s former Mayor Michael Nutter, and Columbia South Carolina’s Steve Benjamin. They helped shape and support the policy Bloomberg rolled out last month called the “Greenwood Initiative” devoted to growing black-American generational wealth.
Bloomberg is committed to creating one million new black homeowners, seeding 100,000 black businesses, giving $70 billion to neighborhoods that need it most.
Look at Bloomberg’s website (www.mikebloomberg.com) and see his plans to give law-abiding immigrants a path to citizenship, to give uninsured Americans a path to healthcare, veterans a path to job training, and those who have worked in fossil fuel industries a path to be part of the clean energy economy.
Bloomberg’s commitment to Israel’s security is long-term. He celebrates its achievements in agriculture, science, and technology, donates to its institutions, and visits often. He believes in a two-state strategy to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that includes Palestinians with Israel in negotiations, and he cautions against decisions that make that goal harder (i.e. annexation and settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank). He has no tolerance for making U.S. military aid conditional, no tolerance for anti-Semitism whether it’s on the streets of Charlottesville or the campus of a university. Bloomberg believes that Holocaust education is essential to keep history alive and make those lessons urgent. In 2014, he jumped on an El Al flight to Tel Aviv when the FAA grounded planes into Ben Gurion airport during the Gaza war, and last month he renounced Trump’s absurd and dangerous charge that one can’t be both pro-Israel and a Democrat.
The other issue that was of concern to me has also been addressed; namely, his vulgar expressions about women and the 40 lawsuits settled over a period of 40 years in his company of 20,000 employees. Bloomberg apologized for his comments more than once. He has never been, however, a sexual predator like the man in the White House. I know two of his female staff. They are both strong feminists and would never work for a man they didn’t believe was trustworthy. Their advocacy for him is good enough for me.
I thank Abby Pogrebin, Mike Bloomberg’s national Jewish liaison, for providing me with some of the above, and Danielle Berrin, formerly a journalist with the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and now the California liaison to the Jewish community, for addressing my deepest concerns.
In sum, we cannot afford to lose this next election to Trump and we cannot afford to allow the Senate to remain in the do-nothing Republican Senate’s hands. I have confidence that Mike Bloomberg can be successful in defeating Trump and changing the Senate into Democratic hands.
Per Thomas Friedman, Mike Bloomberg is as “tough as a rattlesnake.” Those who know him say he is as decent and moral to his core as we would ever want in a President. This is why I endorse him wholeheartedly and believe that he is the only candidate that can defeat Trump in November.
Despite the wars and violence in its short history and its often-negative portrayals in the media, Israel is, in so many ways, a kind and gentle place. Here are examples of eight positive things about the land and her people in these challenging times.
This blog post is adapted from my most recent book, Why Israel (and its Future) Matters: Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation. Available on Amazon.com
Pass this along!
I can’t agree as a Jew with Arthur Brooks’ statement at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday in The Washington Post that we should now turn our contempt for the “other” into love. I don’t think this way as a Jew, especially as I ruminate about the cowardice of the Republicans to hold the President to account for his proven abuse of power and obstruction of Congress and about the President’s hubris, lack of empathy, and contempt for the constitutional constraints placed on the Executive branch.
For my complete statement, see my blog at the Times of Israel – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/coping-with-my-anger-and-contempt/
The well-known popular song Al Kol Eleh, written by Israeli poet and songwriter Naomi Shemer in 1980, was sung in a Tel Aviv stadium celebrating the 70th Anniversary of Israeli statehood in 2018.
As we approach an unprecedented third Israeli election in one year this March (2020) and in the wake of a dead-on-arrival Trump “Deal of the Century” that did not include Palestinians in the negotiations, that denies Palestinians a contiguous, independent, and viable state and a Jerusalem capital, this chorus of 12,000 Israeli Jews singing their hearts out expresses Israeli hope for the future and joy in the Land!
Despite the complexity of Israeli politics and the cessation of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations for a two-state solution that preserve Israel’s democracy and Jewish character and bring justice to Palestinian national aspirations, watch and sing along in this 5-minute video and allow your heart to open with love and joy – Davke!
Note Israeli President Reuven Rivlin singing in the crowd.