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NEW YORK, June 5, 2015 – The Reform Movement was the clear winner in the critical World Zionist Congress election, according to results released today.
The ARZA slate, representing the Reform Movement, secured 56 seats out of a possible 145, winning nearly 40 percent of the votes cast in the United States – more than the amount of the next two slates combined.
The World Zionist Congress, the democratic body of the Jewish people worldwide, will meet this fall for the first time since 2010. It determines how agencies within Israel allocate hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for religious services and civil society projects.
“This overwhelming victory testifies to the power of the Reform Movement to mobilize as active partners in Israel’s present and future,” said Union for Reform Judaism President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. “As the largest and fastest-growing constituency of Jews in North America, Reform Jews recognize and value the importance of our voice in world Jewish affairs. We are mindful that our success in these elections comes at a critical moment for Israel, and we will use our influence to affect change through the vital work of the World Zionist Congress.”
“The sweeping victory for Progressive Judaism is a clear reflection of our love and commitment to the people and the State of Israel. It demonstrates our desire to strengthen the fundamental democratic principles of the State of Israel and work toward a more religiously pluralistic and just society,” said ARZA President Rabbi Josh Weinberg. “Together with the Reconstructionist Movement, we campaigned on important issues such as religious freedom, gender equality, and support for a two state solution. Now we can proudly say that our delegation – the largest of the U.S. by far – will come together in October in Jerusalem to express our passion and involvement as well as our concern for the future.”
About the Union for Reform Judaism
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is a dynamic network of Reform Jewish congregations, lay leaders, clergy, and professionals, which represents the largest and fastest growing constituency of Jews in North America. Our progressive, inclusive approach unites thousands of years of Jewish tradition and values with modern Jewish experience to strengthen Judaism today and for future generations. Through programs, consultations, resources, and networking opportunities provided by the URJ, we help strengthen our nearly 900 member congregations, welcome spiritual seekers through audacious hospitality, engage Jewish youth, deepen Jewish learning, energize worship, pursue tikkun olam (social justice), connect with Israel, and develop inspired leadership. Enjoy related content at ReformJudaism.org and connect with the URJ on Twitter and Facebook.
The Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) was established in 1978 after nearly 50 years of growing identification by Reform Jews with the national aspirations of the Jewish people and ultimately with the State of Israel. As the Zionist arm of the Reform Movement, ARZA is proud to represent the United States at the World Zionist Congress. ARZA strengthens and enriches the Jewish identity of Reform Jews in the United States by ensuring that a connection with Eretz Yisrael is a fundamental part of that identity. ARZA is the single largest supporter of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). ARZA also provides educational materials about Israel and Zionism for Reform congregations, assists in bringing Reform Jews to Israel, and provides pre- and post-trip programming for congregations and individuals in order to enhance their Israel experience.