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Canadian Perspective: “Vote Reform”

“Vote Reform” rings a note of vim, dedication and even resistance.  “Vote Reform” is the rallying cry of our movement and the Reconstructionist movement in the United States of America for the next two months – they are vitally important for the realization of a Jewish State which represents progressive Jewish values. For us in Canada, I hope that they remind us of our duty to encourage our friends living in the US to vote.

Theodore Herzl’s legacy lives on through the Old-New institution called the World Zionist Congress. Many of us are familiar with the First Zionist Congress held in Basel, 1897. It is less well known that the 38th WZC is meeting in Israel in October 2020 – and that we are represented there. This political body has significant power today to influence the course of the State of Israel and of Diaspora Jewish communities through the Jewish Agency and the leadership of the JNF-KKL. The JNF currently holds somewhere around 13% of all land in Israel, and in addition to planting trees, has been gaining interest and rental income on its holdings, making it a major player in shaping the vision of the State of Israel. Our international Reform Zionist organization, Arzenu, is the leader of the largest coalition as a result of the last WZC elections five years ago, we have been able to bring our Reform values to the table. We have real influence over policy at JNF -KKL and the Jewish Agency. Overt purchases of land in areas which don’t align with our values. Once covert purchases were discovered, they were stopped as well.

What this means for us in Canada:

  1. We cannot vote from Canada in the United States election.  Miriam Pearlman, Chair of ARZA Canada, is in the decision-making process to see if there will be a vote in Canada, or if we will maintain the status-quo which gives our movement six of the twenty Canadian seats. If Canadian elections are held they will be in May or June so stay tuned.
  2. We must urge our friends, who are permanent  US residents, to vote. Send them this link: https://azm.org/elections or tag them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helfmanj/posts/10116220738751334
  3. If you have friends who are interested in the future of the Jewish people, but not yet members of a Reform community, and not yet ARZA Canada members, they can sign up as members to any of our communities and join in the application process, or directly here: https://www.arzacanada.org/.

Rabbi Splansky, Rabbi Goodman and I all care deeply about this election and its results. Our friends are running, and our values are on the line. Additionally, the current head of our international Zionist movement, Arzenu, has been to Holy Blossom Temple during this current World Zionist Congress, and some of the past chairs of  Arzenu are our members.  We will keep you in the loop as this election progresses, and share the results with you – and what they mean for Israel and the Jewish People.

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