The most important election that you may never have heard of is currently taking place. Every 5 years, 145 delegates are elected to represent the Jews of the United States at the World Zionist Congress. This important organization – the international Parliament of the Jewish People – sets policy for important Israeli and diaspora organizations, including the Jewish Agency and KKL. It controls a budget of $4 billion over the next 5 years and its allocation can influence Jewish education and identity around the world.
Shas Olami is one of 15 slates running in this election with a broad platform for the benefit of Jews in Israel and around the world. We have 41 candidates – men and women – drawn from different Sephardic communities across the States – who are ready to serve in the World Zionist Congress. Together we stand for the safety of Israel with safe borders, for fighting against anti-Semitism worldwide, for promoting the centrality of Israel and Aliyah, for strengthening authentic Judaism in Israel, and for promoting Jewish & Zionist Education Worldwide. As the political wing of the International Sephardic Zionist Organization, we work to boost Jewish identity among Sephardic youth and combat assimilation through Jewish pride. Our goal is to promote Sephardic cultural heritage and values within the World Zionist Organization and to distribute funds allocated by the WZO to Sephardic educational institutions around the world.
Until now, Sephardic Jews have not been involved in allocating this money, so we have been missing out. In Israel, Shas has been working to restore the glory of Sephardic Judaism for 30 years, in the political arena and in every aspect of Israeli culture. To fulfil the legacy of Maran HaRav Ovadya Yosef zt”l, and endorsed by the Council of Torah Sages, Shas Olami is working to empower Sephardic Jewry around the world. We need your help to ensure that Sephardic Jews have a voice in the Parliament of the Jewish People over the next 5 years.
Voting takes place online, since January 21 until March 11, 2020. Any adult who identifies as Jewish and resides in the United States, as a citizen or with a Green Card, can register online and vote at www.zionistelection.org. We urge every Jew to register and vote - whether you are Sephardic or Ashkenazi - observant or not. If you care about preserving Sephardic culture and traditions, and Jewish values that have been kept for hundreds of generations, you must take part of this important and critical election. It is our responsibility to make sure that our ancient traditions do not vanish from the world. We owe it to our children and to the generations to come. Please vote and tell your friends and family members too. You can find out more about Shas Olami and see the candidates on our slate at www.shas-olami.org.
Rabbi Natan Sasson heads the Shas Olami slate (slate 15) in the WZO elections. He is Rabbi of the Keter Torah Synagogue in West Bloomfield, Michigan.