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Congregation Brothers of Israel

L'dor Vador—From Generation to Generation since 1883
לדור ודור

1/10/20   

 

At the end of our Torah reading this week, Jacob will give a unique and different blessing to each of his sons.  When they work together as a family, their blessings bring them strength as a group, when they fight, everyone becomes endangered.  Theodor Herzl organized the first World Zionist Congress in 1897 in Basel, Switzerland to strengthen the entire community.  At that first meeting, there were 208 delegates and 26 members of the press. While at the beginning, this “parliament of the Jewish people” met annually today the World Zionist Congress meets every 5 years.  Today, there are 500 delegates from 100 different countries around the world.  Together they allocate over 1 billion dollars to support key Jewish and Israeli institutions.  Every Jew over the age of 18 is eligible to vote for one of 13 slates.  Voting begins on January 21st and runs until March 11th and will be conducted online and your vote will make a difference about who sits at the table and allocates funds from the greater Jewish community.
Kol Yisrael Aravim Zeh B’zeh.  Every member of the Jewish community is responsible for every other member of the Jewish community.  Our job is to help.  We don’t have to be Moses; we have to be ourselves who help in our way.   Register today so you will receive a reminder to participate in the election beginning January 21st.  There are over a billion reasons to do so and it will be easy to make happen.
Why does your vote or my vote make a difference? The World Zionist Congress is a representative body, so each vote is a percentage of an overall vote and the ideas and slate you support will get stronger representation in the WZC.  To me that becomes of paramount importance because I believe in Conservative/Masorti Judaism and its values of Religious Pluralism, Equality and Religious Freedom.   In the United States, we enjoy all three values because they are enshrined as part of our secular legal system.  However, in Israel, where there is no separation between synagogue and state, attaining those values can be more challenging.  The allocation of funds from the World Zionist Congress will help ensure that Conservative/Masorti congregations receive the support they need to create a rich and vibrant religious pluralistic community.  They will help Israelis learn that instead of a binary choice of secularism or ultra-religious Judaism there is a plethora of choices about how to live a vibrant Jewish life filled with religious observances more in keeping with their lifestyle and values.  Conservative/Masorti Judaism ensures that men and women are equally included in prayer services, LGBTQ folks are able to fully participate in a Jewish community and children with special needs are able to celebrate a bar/bat mitzvah in their own community. This is our moment to share our values with others and to know we are doing what we can to strengthen the entire Jewish community and Israel.
For more information go to mercaz2020.org and register to vote beginning January 21st.  

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Aaron Gaber

Mon, January 20 2020 23 Tevet 5780