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Strengthening Ties between Reform Jews and Israel

ARZA Canada is an affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism and its Canadian Council. We are a member organization of ARZENU, the International Association of Reform Zionists, and the Canadian Zionist Federation. With over 6,000 members, our mandate is to connect with Reform communities throughout Canada, foster connections with and strengthen our ties to the Reform Movement in Israel, and work to realize the vision of Reform Zionism.

For more information, please visit their website

What are all these internet messages about voting?

“The World Zionist Congress is the supreme ideological and policy-making body of the World Zionist Organization. It convenes once every five years in Jerusalem and brings together over 2,000 Zionist activists from around the world. This gathering represents the entire political and religious spectrum of the Zionist movement.”

Theodore Herzl’s legacy lives on through this old-new institution called the World Zionist Congress. Many are familiar with the First Zionist Congress that was held in Basel, 1897. It is less well known that the 38th WZC will meet in Israel in October 2020 – and that we will be 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 – AND this is why your membership in ARZA Canada is so important. 

There have been many messages on the internet to "Vote Reform" in the upcoming elections to the World Zionist Congress. Please note, these calls are related only to the US Zionist election for the Congress. While the US is required to hold elections, it is rare that other participating countries do so. Of the roughly 500 voting delegates who will attend the Congress in October, Israel will have 199, the USA will have 152, and the remaining countries with Zionist organizations will have 173. Canada has once again been allocated 20 mandates for the upcoming Congress. 

Participation in World Zionist Congress helps to determine the strength of the Reform Movement in Israel and, consequently, the character of that beloved country. Because 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. 

Now, about elections in Canada:

The Canadian Zionist Federation (CZF), of which you are a member through ARZA Canada, determines the procedure to allocate mandates (votes) for Zionist organizations in Canada. Canadian Jews do not vote at this time, and usually Canadians do not vote, as explained below: 

CZF currently has been allocated 20 mandates by WZO. For 2010 and 2015, the allocation of mandates within Canada was done by consensus, avoiding a formal ballot where members were required to vote for their organizations.  For the 2015 Congress, ARZA Canada had 6 of those 20 mandates. The remaining mandates were allocated to Modern Orthodox (Mizrachi), Conservative (Mercaz), Canadian Forum of Russian Speaking Jewry, Ameinu, Meretz. This year, there is an additional member – HARUT - that will qualify for 1 mandate.  In other words, somebody will have to give up a vote.

Because we have increased ARZA Canada membership numbers, the ARZA Canada Board of Directors believes we are in a strong position to maintain our mandates (6) despite increased competition within the CZF. Negotiations are taking place at this time.  If ARZA Canada determines the need for elections in Canada, these will take place in May or June, so stay tuned.

If you have Jewish friends, who are permanent US residents, please encourage them to vote by sending this link: https://azm.org/elections or tag them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helfmanj/posts/10116220738751334

If you have Jewish friends here 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 through Temple Israel, or directly here: https://www.arzacanada.org/.

Your membership matters. Your voice matters.

 

Sat, 31 October 2020 13 Cheshvan 5781