Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Voting in the Upcoming U.S. Elections

The following is from a message that was sent out to Young Israel members from Bob Levi, Chairman of the Board, National Council of Young Israel. I thought it was worth sharing - RBH
...I would like to magnify the importance of voting by pointing out that participation in elections is not only a civic responsibility, but also a halachic obligation for Orthodox Jews. This point must have resonance with our co-religionists who are deeply disappointed in the candidates and, therefore, are considering sitting out this election.

I would respectfully suggest that we follow a path consistent with Halacha, as articulated by Rav Yosef Soloveitchik TZ’L and Rav Moshe Feinstein TZ’L. In 1940, Rav Soloveitchik wrote “only a political system can guide people” within the marketplace of political and legislative ideas. The Rav concluded that a Jew “fulfills G-d’s will in working for the public good” and, as a consequence, we must vote in elections.  Also, the words of Rav Feinstein are decisive when he wrote in October 1984:  “A fundamental principle of Judaism is hakaras ha-tov – recognizing benefits afforded us and giving expression to our appreciation. Therefore, it is incumbent upon each Jewish citizen to participate in the democratic system which guards the freedoms we enjoy.”

Furthermore, on a practical level, elected officials are attentive to Jewish voting turnout. As a result, our ability to influence legislative decisions impacting our community is linked to engagement in the electoral process. So, I urge each and every Young Israel Branch member and supporter of the Young Israel movement to vote in this year’s election.


Bob Levi
Chairman of the Board
National Council of Young Israel

1 comment:

micha berger said...

Given the electoral college system, most (but not an overwhelming majority of) observant Jews are in states where the chance their vote might matter is negligible. Floridians, Philly, and the Los Vegas eruv excepting, as well as some smaller communities.

Someone in one of the states that heavily lean one way or another who is thinking of not voting for reasons of disgust with their choices could accomplish their goal best by voting for a write-in. Not voting says to the parties, "I don't care, ignore my opinion". But bothering to come in and voting for "none of the above" says "I do care but just can't bring myself to vote for your candidate, so you really need to do better next time".