In 1897 Theodore Herzl convened the first World Zionist Congress in Switzerland. TheWZC, also known as the Parliament of the Jewish People, comprises 500 delegates and meets in Jerusalem every five years. Its purpose is to enable delegates to exert ideological influence on both Israeli society and the global Jewish agenda. In addition, the WZC is charged with allocating financial and other resources to various organizations, including the Reform Movement, in Israel.
Currently, the United States has 145 delegates in the World Zionist Congress, the largest single delegation outside of Israel. Thanks to a strong election turnout among North America’s Reform Jews in the last election, a significant amount of money has been allocated to the Reform Movement in Israel, thus supporting Reform institutions and our quest for an Israeli society that embraces those values that we deem essential if Israel is to continue to be the strong democratic country that we want it to be. These values include pluralism, equality, economic justice and the pursuit of peace. Our Reform Movement has joined forces with Israeli political parties to influence Israeli society in matters of conversion, marriage, gender rights, and combating racism.
I strongly encourage you to vote in this election. ARZA is the Association of Reform Zionists of America, and I hope that you will vote for this worthy organization. To vote, google WZO election. It’s easy, but important,as we seek an Israel that is inclusive of all, and especially those who identify with Reform Judaism.
I believe that we all have a stake in Israel’s well-being, with this being the most effective way of making our voices heard. Yes, Israel is the country of the Jewish people. And especially at this critical time, we all need to be counted as friends and supporters of this precious and worthy country.
I wish you Shabbat Shalom—a Sabbath of peace and renewal.