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Election Days are Jewish Holidays: A Note From Rabbi Joel Mosbacher

Election Days are Jewish Holidays: A Note From Rabbi Joel Mosbacher

Voting is about optimism and hope, about envisioning a world more whole and committing to enact that vision, and about seeing ourselves as partners with God in the ongoing work of creation.

 

The following note was sent from Senior Rabbi Joel Mosbacher to Temple Sharaay Tefila of New York City to officially launch their congregation's nonpartisan civic engagement campaign. Rabbi Mosbacher's words model beautifully how Jewish values, text, and tradition constantly challenge us to be better - better people, better neighbors, and better citizens. Please feel free to adapt for your own congregation. 

Dear Friends,

In our traditional morning blessings which we call Nisim B’Chol Yom, “Daily Miracles,” we offer gratitude for being free. As American Jews, we do not take for granted the tremendous gift that we have in being free and enjoying the freedoms that every American has.

We have been thinking about this blessing regarding our freedom to vote – a freedom that Jews have not always been afforded. What a gift we have to be Jews living in America, with the right to express our opinions and raise our voices through voting.

And while Jews have not always been afforded this right, voting encompasses several Jewish values.

For these reasons, we see election days as Jewish holidays, and I hope that you will add them to your already crowded calendar of Jewish holidays this fall. At Shaaray Tefila, we hope that our entire congregation will commit to voting this year. Here are some easy steps to follow:

  • Register to vote: Check to see if you are registered to vote and if you are not, register online today. The registration deadline to vote in the state/local primary is August 19, and the deadline for the general election is October 12.
  • Mark your calendars with two new Jewish Holidays: New York/local primary election on Thursday, September 13, General election on Tuesday, November 6.
  • Pledge to vote**: Fill out a pledge card, either online or in person at the synagogue, and let us know that you are committed to exercising your right to vote.
  • Make a plan to vote: Finding your polling place by visiting nyc.pollsitelocator.com or vote.org
  • To support voting efforts in our congregation, we are forming a task force. If you would like to join that team, please email Rabbi Ilana Schachter, Director of Community Building. For more information on Temple Shaaray Tefila’s civic engagement efforts, keep an eye out in The Weekly.

Praise to You, Adonai our God, who has made us free, and gifted us with the privilege of voting. May we all make good use of this precious gift, this year and in years to come.

L’shalom,
Rabbi Joel Mosbacher & The Civic Engagement Host Committee

**The RAC has designed and printed voter pledge cards each congregation can order and distribute to their members, including state-specific versions for congregations in California and Ohio. More information on ordering pledge cards here

Published: 8/13/2018