I thought you would like to see the email that I received yesterday from Rabbi Joshua Weinberg and Rabbi Bennett Miller, Director and President of the Association of Reform Zionists of America, ARZA. Our hard work has paid off. Now, for the REAL work of raising our voice in Israel even louder. To all of you who voted in this election, and who encouraged your friends and family to vote as well, RAV TODOT – abundant thanks. There is much to do, but now we are in a better position to do it.
The results of the World Zionist Congress elections are in, and we are proud to report that ARZA was the clear winner. We secured 56 seats out of a possible 145 – almost 40% of the U.S. delegation, and as many seats as the next two slates combined. Thank you for your passion, your commitment, and your work.
This is a great victory for Progressive Judaism in Israel, and for all those who care about this important cause. We are now able to join with others who share our vision and continue to work for the causes and issues about which we care so deeply.
We campaigned on important issues such as religious freedom, gender equality, and a two state solution. Now we can proudly say that our delegation—the largest of the U.S.—will come together in October in Jerusalem to express our passion and involvement as well as our concern for the future. Our success in these elections comes at a critical moment for current events in Israel.
We, the Reform and Reconstructionist movements, received almost 40% of the votes which means that liberal Judaism will hold a solid majority in the World Zionist Congress this October.
At the Congress, American Jews will have the opportunity to express their strong feelings about the issues close to our hearts, and then work to affect change in those areas. We will be one step closer to making Israel the Jewish state that we know it can and should be.
As a reminder, the results of this election help determine our influence in Israel’s national institutions, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Jewish National Fund. Our team, led by the leadership of ARZENU (ARZA’s umbrella organization of worldwide Reform Zionists), will now begin the process of negotiating with Israeli political parties and determining our positions based on the power that you, our voters, provided.
We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who voted and who worked to get out the vote. We would like to also thank the superb lay and staff team led by Michael Laufer, Philip Meltzer and Rabbi Karen Fox as well as our campaign manager, Ilana Kaplan. Our sincere appreciation goes out to the ARZA staff, and the lay leaders who demonstrated dedication and perseverance through this long and often arduous campaign.
This campaign would not have been successful without the leadership of the Reform Movement, led by Rabbis Rick Jacobs, Aaron Panken, Steve Fox, Danny Freelander, Jonah Pesner and Rabbi Deborah Waxman of the Reconstructionist Movement. Our leaders in Israel—Rabbi Gilad Kariv, Anat Hoffman, Rabbi Noa Sattat, Yaron Shavit and Reuven Marko, as well as Rabbi Larry Englander and Dalya Levy of ARZENU—worked tirelessly to bring messages of importance to our movement stateside.
Of course, we would not be anywhere without our congregational leadership. We cannot thank enough the hundreds of rabbis, cantors, educators, youth directors, executive directors, administrators, and congregational election teams for all that you did to galvanize your members, families, and friends to come together at this important moment. Every vote made a difference, and we were honored and humbled by your efforts.
This campaign was indeed an investment in Israel’s future, and we offer our deepest thanks to the hundreds of investors and donors who saw with us the need to run a robust and well-funded campaign. We met our goal and were able to maintain fiscal responsibility, and are happy to report that your efforts and investments paid off. Below you will find the breakdown of votes, and we will be posting on our website further analysis of what this means and how it has changed since the last election.
As the results have now come in, let us rejoice by proclaiming, “This year in Jerusalem!”
Shalom and Todah,
Rabbi Josh Weinberg and Rabbi Bennett Miller
Election of American Delegates to the 37th World Zionist Congress