The season is upon us. The High Holy Days season, you ask? Football season, perhaps? Well, yes, those too, but I was referring to the midterm election season. The one with all the annoying commercials, where your crazy neighbors (like me) have all those signs in their yards, and the phones ring with robocalls. Election day is November 6, a mere 55 days away as I write this.
You may be asking, “why should I care?” Well, for starters, the right to vote is one that our ancestors have fought for. As Jews, we know that we have suffered during times when we were not free. And as Americans, we know that nothing changes until we act. Voting is the right and the responsibility of a free people.
Rabbi Yitzhak taught, “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted.” – Talmud, Brakhot 55a
Voting is our modern way of consulting the community before appointing a ruler. The rabbis of the Talmud had no idea of a representative democracy; they did not know of rulers who were elected. But, they still highlighted the importance of the community having some input into who would rule them. Today, when we have the right to vote for our elected officials, we also have the responsibility to vote and ensure others in our community vote as well.
So, what can you do? Make sure you are registered to vote. The deadline to register is October 22, but please don’t wait until the last day! You can register online here. Double check that you know where your polling place is here. Check to make sure that your voter status is active here. Educate yourself on the candidates and their positions. Make a plan to vote (what time you will go, how you will get there, etc.). Studies show that if you have a voting plan, you will be much more likely to vote. And if you have all that done and still want to take action, volunteer to help others to get to the polls! Let’s make sure our Jewish voices are heard!