The Results Are In: World Zionist Congress Elections

Posted on April 7, 2020 by Beth Lavranchuk

From January 21 through March 11, 2020, Temple Beth-El and our Reform Movement campaigned in the World Zionist Congress Election. This was the one democratic opportunity we had to have our Reform voices heard in Israel and throughout the world, and to work to implement the values we hold dear — pluralism, equality, freedom, and ensuring the future of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.

Rabbi Gluck and I are incredibly grateful to all of our core team volunteers, our leadership and to all who voted. We are also grateful to the Reform Movement, partner organizations and affiliates. We are pleased to report that more than 31,000 Reform Jews took the time and money to raise their voices, be counted, and make an impact in support of our movement.

In this year’s election, Vote Reform/ARZA/Vote Reform and Reconstructionist Movement garnered 31,500 votes. Coming in first place, we remained the largest Zionist organization in the United States and should not be taken for granted. Here are some more points to put this into perspective:

  • We (Reform ARZA) came in first, with nearly 10,000votes more than the second place slate (See chartthis page). We still don’t know if Rabbi Gluck will beselected to serve at the World Zionist Congress this fall. Those details are pending.
  • In comparison to the 2015 election, we increasedvotes by nearly 50 percent, with 10,000 new voters.This is especially impressive because we also came in first in 2015. This proves that our people care deeply about creating a Jewish, democratic Israel that values pluralism, equality and freedom.
  • is more than double the voter turnout of the 2015 election and the highest number of votes in the 30 years of history for this election. The overwhelming increase in voting is a very positive sign! It reflects the increased awareness of the importance of the World Zionist Congress and the National Institutions in Israel to American Jews. This is crucial to the future of Israel.
  • powerful progressive block in the World Zionist Congress. Including Mercaz (Conservative Movement) and Hatikvah (The Progressive Bloc), our progressive block has more than 54,000 votes, about 45% of the total.

This year, the grassroots campaign began with a Reform Movement-wide campaign, including our own. Our congregation was one of hundreds of that participated in encouraging every Reform Jew to cast a vote for the ARZA slate. It is because of our efforts as a community that our movement was able to make waves across the country and the globe.

In his November Shofar article, Rabbi Gluck outlined the importance of this election and the importance of a strong showing by the Reform movement:

“A large representation for Reform Judaism at the World Zionist Congress will give us the power to promote religious freedom, pluralism and equality for all Jews, including personal status issues such as marriage, divorce, and conversion; equal access to holy places like the Kotel; and more. It will result in increased funding for Reform Judaism in Israel and the Diaspora. And it will also increase our representation in the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which allocates money for land purchases throughout Israel. Increasing the strength of our voice in these Jewish national institutions will enable us to make them more reflective of our Reform Jewish values.”

It is with deep gratitude that we thank all those who worked tirelessly for our congregation in this campaign. You all displayed an unbelievable effort to get out the vote. We must build on our success and continue to support Reform values in Israel in the coming years.

Beth Lavranchuk


Originally published in the April 2020 issue of the Shofar. For more issues of the Shofar, visit the Shofar archives.