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Advocating for an Israel Aligned with My Values: Why I’m on the ARZA Slate

Advocating for an Israel Aligned with My Values: Why I’m on the ARZA Slate

As an 18-year-old I spent a year living and studying in Israel. In one class the teacher talked to us about his aliyah experience. He told us that by moving to Israel he could have a say in the Jewish future, because he could vote in the Israeli elections, and that we, in the Diaspora, could never have the same direct influence on Israeli society, or by extension play the same part in our shared Jewish future.

He was right that I wasn’t able to vote in this month’s Israeli elections, but he was wrong about the fact that I can’t have an influence on where Judaism or Israel is going.

Israelis went to the polls and we in America also have the opportunity to go to the polls in our elections for the World Zionist Congress. And through our votes we do have a unique chance to influence the direction in which Israel is moving.

Herzl’s dream of a Jewish State became a reality, and the Congress, which was at the forefront of this movement, still meets today. And this election provides a unique opportunity for me as a Jew to place a vote exclusively according to my Jewish values and beliefs.

While I do not get to vote in the Israeli elections, in this election I do have a chance to have some say on the direction I want Israel to be heading. I do have an opportunity to vote according to my Judaism for the type of place I want Israel to be. And I do have a chance to decide who will be representing me in Jerusalem this October.

Through these elections I will be able to influence the leadership of the Jewish Agency, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish National Fund and other vitally important agencies and organizations in Israel and around the world. And as a result of the strength of the various delegations to the Congress, millions and millions of dollars will be distributed amongst various Jewish organizations and causes.

I am proud not just to be voting in these elections, but to be a delegate on the ARZA slate. I have been privileged to attend the last two Congresses and to be a part of the global delegation representing the interests of Reform Judaism. Coming together to Jerusalem from across the world we were able to pursue policies, motions and proposals that aligned with our values. Working for an Israel that is both Jewish and democratic, with a free society committed to equality of religion, gender, race and ethnicity.

In our Jewish community we spend a lot of time talking about Israel. These elections provide us with a tangible opportunity to, quite literally, put our money where our mouth is, and to vote for the kind of place we want Israel to be. By voting for ARZA in these elections we can help in the crucial work of ensuring a progressive, democratic and egalitarian Israel. Voting only takes a couple minutes, so click here to vote now.

Rabbi Danny Burkeman serves The Community Synagogue in Port Washington, N.Y. He also serves as a board member of the World Union for Progressive Judaism and has a weekly podcast, Two Minutes of Torah. He is married to Micol Zimmerman Burkeman, director of the North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), and together they are the very proud parents of Gabriella Liat.

Published: 3/26/2015

Categories: Social Justice