After election day in Israel yesterday, and it's outcome, it is important to remember that there is another big vote going on this year in the Jewish/Diaspora world. The World Zionist Congress. I am voting in this election because doing so gives me a voice in world Jewish affairs. It is the only opportunity I have, as a Diaspora Jew, to exercise my democratic right to weigh in on Israeli issues and policies that affect Jews everywhere. It costs a small amount of $10 to vote, which covers the administrative fees, and this year I am casting my vote for the ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America): Representing Reform Judaism slate. Want to know why?

Here is why:

1. ARZA's platform advocates religious pluralism and gender equality in Israel and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - all positions I strongly support. Were ARZA to win a large proportion of the 145 American seats, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism would secure the funding it needs to build additional Reform congregations in Israel. Since the last WZO election in 2006, in which ARZA won 39% of the U.S. seats, Reform institutions in Israel received more than $20 million. These funds contributed significantly to a doubling of Reform congregations in Israel over a 10-year period.

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2. According to ARZA director Rabbi Josh Weinberg, the Reform Movement's showing in the last elections landed Reform Jews into key positions in the World Zionist Organization and in the Jewish National Fund, which helps determine what lands will be made available for settlement and plays a key ecological role in Israel.

3. If American Reform Jews don't vote for ARZA in large numbers, it will send a message that our Movement does not care enough about the future of Israel.

4. A poor showing would strengthen the hand of the hawkish and Orthodox factions, which advocate the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Right-wing parties would also gain in strength if Reform Jews split our vote among the other liberal slates in the election.

5. At a time when anti-Zionist propaganda seeks to draw a distinction between the Jewish people and the State of Israel, I want to declare the centrality of Israel to my identity as a Jew.

How can you vote in this important election? You can vote if you are a U.S. resident and will be 18 or older by June 2015. Want to vote and also know you want to vote ARZA? Head on over to and get going!
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