Religious Zionist of America co-president Rabbi Leonard Matanky of Congregation K.I.N.S. of West Rogers Park and Rabbi Zev Eleff of Hebrew Theological College in Skokie lead the Chicago area contingent vying for seats as delegates to the World Zionist Congress on Slate #4, the Orthodox Israel Coalition (OIC). Rabbi Hershel Schachter holds the top position on the slate. The election outcome will help determine what percentage of more than $5 billion would be allocated over the next five years to Orthodox-affiliated day schools, yeshivot, seminaries and other gap year programs, summer camps, and shuls, and for recruiting and training shlichim (emissaries) and bnot Sherut (young Israeli women performing national service) to American communities. Polls close March 11.
The OIC is nine major religious Zionist and modern-Orthodox organizations that have represented Orthodoxy in the World Zionist Congress for over 100 years. They are the Religious Zionists of America-Mizrachi, AMIT, the Orthodox Union, Yeshiva University, Touro College, Bnei Akiva, Torah MiTzion, National Council of Young Israel, and the Rabbinical Council of America.
The World Zionist Congress is considered “the parliament” of the Jewish people. Elections are held just once every five years. Choosing the 152 U.S. delegates (out of 500) is the primary opportunity for Jews living in America to impact major decisions being made in Israel. Delegates appoint the senior leaders of four Israeli national institutions that, between them, allocate nearly $1 billion a year to Jewish educational and communal causes around the world.
“Chicago plays an important role on our slate and people should know that if elected, they will be sending their neighbors to vote to support causes close to our community,” said Rav Doron Perez, chief executive of the Mizrachi worldwide movement. “Israeli national institutions such as the World Zionist Organization, The Jewish Agency, Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael (JNF) and Keren Hayesod often perceive the Orthodox community in America as an insignificant minority. This perception does not reflect reality or the rapid growth of Orthodoxy in America. The contributions of Orthodox Jews to communal organizations and institutions bring to bear an influence far beyond our relative numbers. Success in these elections will greatly bolster the standing and influence of the Orthodox Torah voice.”
Other OIC Slate #4 Ambassadors from the Chicago area include CRC Av Beit Din Rabbi Yona Reiss, Religious Zionists of Chicago Executive Director Rabbi Jerold Isenberg, Molly Singer, Yitzchak Matanky, Chicago Institute of Women’s Learning Community Scholar Emma Katz, Religious Zionists of Chicago Co-President Dr. Oren Lakser, YU Torah Mitzion Kollel of Chicago Rosh Kollel Rabbi Reuven Brand, Rabbi Zvi Engel of Congregation Or Torah of Skokie, Jewish Family Experience Director Mashi Polstein, Chicago Institute of Women’s Learning Director Lynn Kraft, Educator Atara Turoff, and International Director of NCSY Rabbi Micha Greenland.
Any Jew who will be 18 by June 30th, 2020, is a permanent resident of the United States, and does not vote in Israel, is eligible to vote following this process:
- Go to www.zionistelection.org
- Click the Voter Registration button on the bottom left
- Fill in your information including payment of the $5.00 fee (ages 18-25) or $7.50 (ages 26 and above) and click submit
- Check your email or texts to receive your verification number and enter it on the website
- Vote for Slate #4 (OIC)
Mizrachi is the global Religioust Zionist movement, spreading Torat Eretz Yisrael across the world and strengthening the bond between the international Jewish community and the State of Israel. Mizrachi has represented the Torah Voice and the Orthodox movement in the WZO for almost 120 years. Based in Jerusalem and with branches across the globe, Mizrachi – an acronym for merkaz ruchani (spiritual center) – was founded in 1902. For more information visit http://rzc.us/