The U.S. 2018 Midterm Elections were historic in many ways.
We saw more women, minority, and Jewish candidates than ever before run for office, and we can now celebrate the diversity of our newly elected Congress. This 116th Congress will include more than 30 Jewish members, including newly elected representatives Andy Levin from Michigan, Dean Phillips from Minnesota, Max Rose from New York, Susan Wild from Pennsylvania, and Elaine Luria from Virginia. The new Congress includes the first Muslim women elected to Congress (Rashida Tlaib from Michigan and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota) and the first Native American women (Sharice Davids from Kansas and Deb Halaand from New Mexico). At age 29, Abby Finkenauer from Iowa and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York will be the youngest women ever elected to Congress.
Having diverse voices in leadership matters. Representation matters.
Reform Jews across the United States showed up in full force this election. Guided by the Talmudic injunction that “a ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted,” our community organized and mobilized to ensure that Jewish voices and values were present in the public square (Talmud, Brakhot 55a).
Reform Jews from nearly 1,000 communities in 43 states participated in the campaign, and together we engaged over 158,000 Americans in the democratic process. We registered 4,117 people to vote and organized 17 candidate forums. Reform Jewish youth stepped up and joined the campaign in full force: More than 8,000 college students participated, and civic engagement programming took place at seven NFTY events and at nine URJ camps, engaging hundreds of teens and young adults.
See resources and materials from the 2018 civic engagement campaign below
We believe that our democracy is strongest when everyone has the opportunity to participate.
As we work together to fulfill the sacred mandate of tikkun olam, world repair, nonpartisan civic engagement in service of our enduring values is an essential way that we stay active in our communities.
WHAT IS THIS CAMPAIGN?
This nonpartisan campaign will bring the full force of the Movement to bear by empowering all people to exercise their right to vote and ensuring that Jewish voices are present in the public square, regardless of party or politics. This campaign has three pillars: Voter Engagement, Candidate Engagement, and Ballot Initiatives.
WHO IS IT FOR?
This campaign seeks to mobilize the entire Reform Jewish community -- be it through a congregation, a NFTY region, sisterhood, a camp community, or campus activism. We know our Movement is strongest when we act together. If you believe that civic engagement is important for the Jewish community, we want you with us.
distribute targeted resources to support local and congregational civic
engagement. Whether you are aiming for 100% voter participation in
your synagogue, registering voters in your community, interested in hosting
a candidate forum, or supporting a local ballot initiative, this is the place to start.
Access our civic engagement resources to help you get started.
- Access our bank of civic engagement resources for strategic and tactical guidance on how to do this work in your community.
- Start the conversation in your community. What is necessary to do this type of work? What type of team might need to be created? What type of civic engagement work are you best positioned to do?
- The RAC hosted two training webinars: one on voter engagement and one on candidate engagement.
- Read about the three pillars of this campaign below.
- Let us know how your congregation or community is participating in this campaign. The more we coordinate as a Movement, the more change we can make.
- Check back regularly! Resources are being added all the time.
All icons sourced from the Noun Project.
As Reform Jews, each person is an agent of change. This year we are helping Jewish communities achieve 100% voting through registration, education, and turnout -- and engage with their wider community to ensure access to the vote for all.
As engaged and active citizens, we have an opportunity to live out our Reform Jewish values by building meaningful relationships with elected leaders and candidates for office from across the political spectrum by hosting nonpartisan candidate forums.
Structural change often happens at the state level and at the ballot box. This year, the RAC is supporting efforts to pass or defeat four strategic state ballot initiatives in key locations.