Theodor Herzl envisioned Israel as a homeland for all Jews. But today the government of that Jewish homeland only recognizes one stream of Judaism. The Masorti and other pluralisticmmovements are in an ongoing struggle for recognition. While progress has been made, there are still many challenges ahead.
In the middle of December we had the privilege of learning from Rabbi Nathalie Lastreger from the Masorti/Conservative synagogue in Kvar Vradim, Israel. We had a wonderful Shabbat together during which we learned about her incredible journey from an ultra-Orthodox rebbetzin to a Masorti rabbi. Rabbi Nathalie is a beacon of light for Jews in Israel who care about supporting a Judaism in Israel that is more egalitarian, inclusive, intellectually honest, and spiritually uplifting. We at Shaarei TIkvah are so proud of the work she and her community are doing to help Israelis grow in their Jewish identities. She reminded us of the deep connections we share and how Israeli Jews can learn a great deal from American Jews and vice-versa. We can grow together by being in relationship with one another.
This month, the American Jewish community has an incredible opportunity to support Rabbi Nathalie’s community as well as the entire Masorti Movement in Israel. The upcoming 2020 World Zionist Congress election, which only occurs every five years, is held to determine the leadership of the World Zionist Organization. This is an important agency connected to a number of powerful and influential Jewish organizations where Diaspora Jews have a voice. It is imperative that the MERCAZ Slate – the official slate of the Conservative/Masorti Movement -make a strong showing in this upcoming election.
A vote for MERCAZ is more than just the opportunity to gain delegates to the World Zionist Congress – it is our best opportunity to send a strong message to the Israeli government and people of Israel that we stand for an Israel that is democratic and pluralistic, that recognizes and empowers all streams of Jewish practice, and that guarantees the civil and political rights of all of its citizens.
Votes may be cast from January 21st to March 11th. You can Pledge to Vote right now by heading over to MERCAZ2020.org or by texting VOTE to 917-332-1162. We’ll send you a reminder once the voting period opens as well as timely updates on the campaign. If you want to make an even bigger impact, get involved in the campaign effort! To volunteer, contact Rabbi Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working together to help to build an Israel that is truly a Jewish home for the Jewish people.
Kadima! Let’s do it!