How You Can Get Civically Engaged This Fall

October 8, 2018Elizabeth Leff

Reform Jews have the power to shape their Jewish community and world beyond because Reform Judaism empowers those who claim it as their own to take part in appraising its past and building its future. If that doesn’t sound like democracy, I don’t know what does.

Reform Judaism calls upon us to be civically engaged, making a direct call to action to involve ourselves in shaping our institutions to propel our world toward justice. The Pittsburgh Platform, the 1885 document that outlines the shift in the United States toward today’s Reform Jewish practice, states:

In full accordance with the spirit of the Mosaic legislation, which strives to regulate the relations between rich and poor, we deem it our duty to participate in the great task of modern times, to solve, on the basis of justice and righteousness, the problems presented by the contrasts and evils of the present organization of society.

This document, the foundation upon which North American Reform Judaism was built, demands a future in which Reform Jews fulfill a mandate to engage with their community. With this responsibility comes a requirement to mobilize effectively, to work together as networked communities, and to strive for results that are meaningful and impactful.

The Civic Engagement Campaign currently underway under the auspices of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is a nonpartisan effort designed to bring the full force of Reform Jews to bear by empowering all people to exercise their right to vote and ensuring that Jewish voices are present in the public square. The campaign’s three pillars – voter engagement, candidate engagement, and ballot initiatives – are ways for Jews throughout the United States to participate in the 2018 midterm election in a meaningful way. They enable Reform Jews across the U.S. to be involved in this campaign, and they offer flexibility in various levels of engagement appropriate in each unique context.

To be effective in this campaign, Reform Jews need tools, support, training, and access to the network of communities engaged in this work. Here are ways you can use the RAC’s resources to be civically engaged this fall:

  1. Download the RAC’s Civic Engagement Campaign toolkits to use within your community – Jewish or not – including content tailored for youth.
  2. As you think about how you might be best positioned to get involved, watch the recordings of the RAC’s Voter Engagement Training Webinar and Candidate Engagement Training Webinar.
  3. Let us know what you are doing so we can amplify meaningful and important work happening across the United States

The work of the Civic Engagement Campaign is more than a Jewish mandate; exercising the rights that women, marginalized groups, religious minorities, and so many others have worked hard to access and keep secure is a Jewish imperative. The tasks and tools have been given, and the only thing left to do is to act powerfully.

This post is adapted from an article that originally appeared in a Women of Reform Judaism Strategies for Sisterhood Success newsletter.

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