The Rabbinical Alliance of America — Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis — calls on all eligible members of the Jewish community to vote in the upcoming elections.
Every election is important. This election cycle of 2020 includes races for President, Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as state and local races. These elections will set this nation’s course of direction. You must participate in that direction-setting by voting in the elections. Additionally, by voting, you raise your voice and tell your local elected officials that your community’s needs must be attended.
HaGaon HaRav Moshe Feinstein zt”l finds the source of such an obligation in the notion of Hakaras HaTov—the requirement to show gratitude. In 1984, the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York was conducting a voter registration campaign. Rav Moshe Feinstein was approached and he responded that, as a matter of Jewish law, Jews should vote. Subsequently, Rav Feinstein published a letter delineating the obligation to vote. The letter states:
“On reaching the shores of the United States, Jews found a safe haven. The rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights have allowed us the freedom to practice our religion without interference and to live in this republic in safety.
“A fundamental principle of Judaism is hakaras hatov — recognizing benefits afforded us and giving expression to our appreciation. Therefore, it is incumbent on each Jewish citizen to participate in the democratic system which guards the freedoms we enjoy. The most fundamental responsibility incumbent on each individual is to register and to vote.
“Therefore, I urge all members of the Jewish community to fulfill their obligations by registering as soon as possible, and by voting. By this, we can express our appreciation and contribute to the continued security of our community.”
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America commented, “As Jews who are proud Americans, we have an obligation to safeguard the religious and civil liberties that have allowed Torah to flourish in America, perhaps unparalleled in our people’s history in diaspora. These are most welcome freedoms, unheard of in the annals of Jewish history. As a child of Holocaust survivors, my parents inculcated in me the need to appreciate these great liberties in America. We must safeguard these liberties by voting for governmental representatives who will uphold and respect these principles of religious freedom. Your votes will protect your and your children’s ability to practice Judaism without impediment.
“This is especially true as we witness the rising hatred and anti-Semitism in America and the declining recognition of the important role that Israel maintains in the Middle East as America’s trusted ally. Please vote and let our voices be heard. Together, we will make a difference in safeguarding equal protection of the law for all Americans.”