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Monday, November 06, 2006

VOTE

Tomorrow is Election Day. Get out and vote. Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz makes a very compelling argument in this essay:
If we don't vote, we don't exist. Those words, spoken with passion and conviction by my dear chaver Rabbi Yechiel Kalish, stopped me in my tracks during an enjoyable dinner that we were sharing recently.

Rabbi Kalish ought to know. He serves as Coordinator for Agudath Israel of America's Commission on Government Affairs and as their Midwest Director. He is charming, engaging, and extraordinarily knowledgeable in the ways and means of how government operates.

Rabbi Kalish and many other dedicated officers in Jewish communal organizations represent you in governmental matters that are important to your life. Securing financial support for mosdos Hatorah. Getting government grants for chesed organizations. Lowering your taxes. Protecting your rights in the workplace. Equally important are the initiatives that the leadership of Agudath Israel and other Jewish organizations are working tirelessly to actualize. School vouchers. Tax credits for yeshiva tuition payments. Financial aid for parents of learning disabled or handicapped children.

It is exceedingly difficult to understand why so many members of our community don’t feel the obligation to vote in each and every election. In this malchus shel chesed (benevolent country), we ought to be model citizens and exercise our civic duty by voting on Election Day.

Perhaps equally as important, voting allows each of us to be heard. Which candidate you vote for doesn't matter much in the broader scheme of things. Just that you vote regularly. Rabbi Kalish points out that the level of sophistication in today's data collection allow elected officials to track voting patterns and almost effortlessly find out how many voters he represents each time he advocates for us. Not how many people, but rather how many voters.

Because if you don't vote, you don't matter. If you don't vote, you don't exist. If you don't vote, you don't have an elected official caring about your existence or needs. Rallies and protests get headlines, but they are a merely sideshows. Elected officials direct their attention to the main event, Election Day.

Especially now, with the very real and terrifying threats faced by our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel, I feel that it is almost pikuach nefesh (a life-and-death matter) for each of us to vote and be heard.

I was only eight years old in 1967, but I clearly recall the raw fear that gripped the adults in my life during the build-up to the Six-Day War. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, fashioned a coalition of the Arab states. Egypt, Jordan and Syria massed their troops on the borders surrounding Eretz Yisroel and announced their intention to Push the Jews into the sea. And by all accounts, they seemed to have had the ability to do just that, Hashem yeracheim. Russia, then in its heyday, was supplying the Arabs with seemingly limitless numbers of tanks and weapons, and the Arab troops combined outnumbered the Israeli soldiers by many multiples of ten.

Here in America, things were far from normal during those days and weeks. Survivors of the churban in Europe (most of the adults in those days) cried unabashedly in shul during davening as they pleaded with Hashem to spare the lives of our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel. Mass tefilah gatherings, not a common thing forty years ago, were held.

My most vivid memories from those frightening weeks was awakening each morning and seeing my parents huddled around the kitchen radio with drawn faces, listening to the reports of events in Eretz Yisroel. There was a tangible feeling of an existential threat to Klal Yisroel one that, with the chesed of Hashem was removed with the stunning victory that became known as the Six-Day War.

Sadly, history is repeating itself once again. Our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel were subjected to horrific destruction and terror with thousands of rockets rained on all of Northern Eretz Yisroel this past summer. A sea of enemies sworn to our destruction surrounds us. The leader of Iran, who is attempting to create a nuclear arsenal, repeatedly calls for the eradication of Israel, and publicly stated that, Israel's destruction is the solution [to the conflict]. The vile, hate-filled, anti-Semitic rhetoric emanating from many leaders in the Arab world and most of the Arab Street is at least equivalent to that of the Nazi propaganda machine in the late 1930's. The vast majority of nations would deny us the right to return fire and protect our women and children by any means possible.

We hope that Hashem will be merciful to us and remove these threats to our existence. But if there is chas v'shalom another war in Eretz Yisroel; Rabbi Kalish, his colleagues at Agudath Israel, and dedicated leaders of other Jewish organizations will be called upon to rally support from elected officials in every level of government to support the defense of our brothers and sisters.

With the burgeoning Arab population in the United States and Europe, elected officials have many voices whispering in their ears. They will rightfully wonder how many voters Rabbi Kalish and his colleagues represent. Remember not how many people, but how many voters.

So I ask you; will you exist, should Klal Yisroel need your help? Only you can answer that question on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7th.

Please, please take the time to vote; for yourself, for your community, and for Klal Yisroel.

Vote as if Jewish lives depend on your involvement. Because they may.
Or, as I posted last year on Election Day, in the words of the great poet and humorist Ogden Nash:
Election Day Is a Holiday

People on whom I do not bother to dote
Are people who do not bother to vote
Heaven forbid that they should ever be exempt
From contumely, obloquy, and various kinds of contempt.

Some of them like Toscanini and some like Rudy Vallée
But all of them take about as much interest in their right to ballot
as their right to ballet.
They haven’t voted since the heyday of Miss Russell (Lillian)
And excuse themselves by saying What’s the difference of one vote in fifty million?

They have such refined and delicate palates
That they can discover no one worthy of their ballots,
And then when someone terrible gets elected
They say There, that’s just what I expected!

And they go around for four years spouting discontented criticisms
And contented witticisms,
And then when somebody to oppose the man they oppose gets nominated
They say Oh golly, golly, he’s the kind of man I’ve always abominated
And they have discovered that if you don’t take time out to go to the polls
You can manage very nicely to get through thirty-six holes.

Oh let us cover these clever people very conspicuously with loathing,
For they are un-citizens in citizens’ clothing.
They attempt to justify their negligence
On the ground that no candidate appeals to people of their intelligence,
But I am quite sure that if Abraham Lincoln (Rep.) ran against Thomas Jefferson (Dem.),
Neither man would be appealing enough to squeeze a vote out of them.
Please, everyone. Vote tomorrow.

26 Comments:

Blogger Halfnutcase said...

The recognition that there is noone worth voting for is a legitimate choice, it is the choice not to vote because you cannot moraly support either party.

To vote for someone whom you cannot moraly vote for is nothing but throwing a monkey wrentch in they system. If you cannot make an intellegent and reasoned decision with your whole concience, you have a civic duty to leave the voting process to those who can. Voting for someone who will ruin this country because he has some minor plus is a abberation of our system and a civic disservice of the greatest order.

That is, the restitution to this is to locate and encourage those whom you consider appropriate to run and vote.

i'm sorry there are those who chose not to vote because they cannot chose a canidite with a clear concience and those who neglect to vote. the latter is illigit, the former is quite a legitimate choice, with it's ittenerant obligations.

A poorly placed vote is much worse than not voting.

9:34 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

100% ...every Jew MUST take a ballot (don't even care if you fill it out)

9:44 PM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

You HAD to go and single me out... :)

(FINE, I'll go vote tomorrow)...

10:48 PM  
Blogger Yid With Lid said...

This is a key election especially in regards to the future of Israel and Jewish Issues--- I urge everyone that loves Israel or the Jewish People to read this article
http://yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2006/11/if-you-care-at-all-about-israel-or-any.html

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must vote MUST for AA Road Warrior MVP: http://www.americanwaymag.com/

11:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so who should we vote for MOM?

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crying......see below....still believe there is not a crusade by the anti-religious forces in the country?????? They are trying for all of their might to detatch Torah-true Jews from the holiest parts of Eretz Yisroel....and where that is not possible, they will try to inject the most vile thing that can be conjured up. We should all be tearing kriah, because Amona was not an isolated incident. Hashem Yerachem

Early morning Israel time, R. Nati and I spoke. He was there and has these tidbits to share...by R. Nati

The West Bank has been stripped of security forces, all have been allocated to Immoral Pride Parade protection. But, that's Friday and the forces are gone since yesterday! Scattered towns have reported odd attacks or attack preparations. Itamar was hit by a rocket, possibly a Kassam (in the West Bank). Maaleh Levonah was hit with an anti-tank missle. Ignored, not reported, no one to respond.

Meah Shearim and Geulah are the ancient ultra-orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem outside the old city. It's cramped living conditions but more Torah per block than any other place in the world. It's not near the 'new' parade route, nor near the secular district nor near the immoral organization's that are planning this event. It's actually bounded by Arab neighborhoods and business districts. So when they protest, they go to the local square, shout for a while, and go home. There's one main road that goes through the area, in a heated protest they'll go to the intersection and shout at passing cars. (When this happens, police will just reroute traffic for a while.)

Last night, they were protesting. But rather than reroute traffic and let them vent, or rather, let them exercise their democratic right to assembly and speech, the storm troopers (because it's not the regular police) charged the neighborhood. Black or grey uniformed, on huge horses, with shields and helmets and clubs, in they came swinging. And they were there to injure and kill. Never in my life have I seen such vicious violent attacks.

They targeted the small, the weak, those separate from the crowd. I saw a teenage boy, maybe 13, beaten just walking past on his way home. I saw a women beaten who had the nerve to walk out of her house. Beaten and beaten and beaten until unconcious, and still beaten. I was shaken by the pure rage shown by the troopers. True inhumanity on display.

But the neighborhood young men were not just going to stand there and let the blood flow. Large groups charged back chasing off the troopers. The weak charedim sitting quietly in shul and being stepped on were not to be found this night. Strong, arms locked, holy fire in their eyes, they went to defend Torah, their neighborhood, and literally the lives of the weak.

It was a battle, and it was terrible. But these people are no pushover, and even if the full security forces of Israel are brought to bear as in Gaza, they outnumber them 10:1.

Much of what I saw was right out of the navi, midrash, and holy words of the gedolim of the past. I fully believe that we're literally living the words of the prophets. But I'm too shaken right now to track down the references.

8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crying......see below....still believe there is not a crusade by the anti-religious forces in the country?????? They are trying for all of their might to detatch Torah-true Jews from the holiest parts of Eretz Yisroel....and where that is not possible, they will try to inject the most vile thing that can be conjured up. We should all be tearing kriah, because Amona was not an isolated incident. Hashem Yerachem

Early morning Israel time, R. Nati and I spoke. He was there and has these tidbits to share...by R. Nati

The West Bank has been stripped of security forces, all have been allocated to Immoral Pride Parade protection. But, that's Friday and the forces are gone since yesterday! Scattered towns have reported odd attacks or attack preparations. Itamar was hit by a rocket, possibly a Kassam (in the West Bank). Maaleh Levonah was hit with an anti-tank missle. Ignored, not reported, no one to respond.

Meah Shearim and Geulah are the ancient ultra-orthodox neighborhoods of Jerusalem outside the old city. It's cramped living conditions but more Torah per block than any other place in the world. It's not near the 'new' parade route, nor near the secular district nor near the immoral organization's that are planning this event. It's actually bounded by Arab neighborhoods and business districts. So when they protest, they go to the local square, shout for a while, and go home. There's one main road that goes through the area, in a heated protest they'll go to the intersection and shout at passing cars. (When this happens, police will just reroute traffic for a while.)

Last night, they were protesting. But rather than reroute traffic and let them vent, or rather, let them exercise their democratic right to assembly and speech, the storm troopers (because it's not the regular police) charged the neighborhood. Black or grey uniformed, on huge horses, with shields and helmets and clubs, in they came swinging. And they were there to injure and kill. Never in my life have I seen such vicious violent attacks.

They targeted the small, the weak, those separate from the crowd. I saw a teenage boy, maybe 13, beaten just walking past on his way home. I saw a women beaten who had the nerve to walk out of her house. Beaten and beaten and beaten until unconcious, and still beaten. I was shaken by the pure rage shown by the troopers. True inhumanity on display.

But the neighborhood young men were not just going to stand there and let the blood flow. Large groups charged back chasing off the troopers. The weak charedim sitting quietly in shul and being stepped on were not to be found this night. Strong, arms locked, holy fire in their eyes, they went to defend Torah, their neighborhood, and literally the lives of the weak.

It was a battle, and it was terrible. But these people are no pushover, and even if the full security forces of Israel are brought to bear as in Gaza, they outnumber them 10:1.

Much of what I saw was right out of the navi, midrash, and holy words of the gedolim of the past. I fully believe that we're literally living the words of the prophets. But I'm too shaken right now to track down the references.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

Very touching but give me a break. The Chareidim have radicalized the Israeli populace with their irresponsible, anti-societal violence perpetrated for 30 years.

Bad leadership has caused this. And I doubt if better leadership is waiting in the wings to fix the situation.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I saw a women beaten who had the nerve to walk out of her house. Beaten and beaten and beaten until unconcious, and still beaten."

Sorry. I work in Jerusalem, and see the same things you see. You are crazy if you think that we would believe this about our brothers, and the police are our brothers whther you like to admit it or not. Their job is to keep peace. Not to make judgments on whether gays should have a right to march or not. I can guarantee you that if the gays would start throwing stones and setting fires in geulah during their march they would be treated the same way by the police.

The basic fact you are ignoring is that we live in Galut. the fact is its an immoral world out there and theres nothing to do about it excpt peacefully object and do our best to do teh right thing so Mashiach will come. Not stone and set fire.

When we stone our own people we are no better than Palestinians. And we should not be surprised to see the police treating the stoners like they treat palestinian stoners.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A young boy was standing among the crowd innocently watching and got beaten up so badly by Yasamnikim/Kapo/ devils. The Yassam lynched him on his way home from Arvit. PLEASE DAVEN for Refuah Shlema the young boy Eliyahu Moshe ben Shoshana. He is in critical condition in the hospital.

Hopefully you all are not beyond davening for a refuah for a young boy

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A young boy was standing among the crowd innocently watching and got beaten up so badly by Yasamnikim/Kapo/ devils. The Yassam lynched him on his way home from Arvit. PLEASE DAVEN for Refuah Shlema the young boy Eliyahu Moshe ben Shoshana. He is in critical condition in the hospital.":

I will daven for him but dont change my opinion. the protesters who flew off the handle created this dangerous situation. There are rallies and protests all the time in NYC. They never get out of hand like this. I refuse to allow you to make the case that jewish Police officers are worse than US police officers.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you not see the pictures and video from Amona?????? Give it up. Unfortunately, we do not have to look that far back into our history that the hatred of certain Jews for others is very very deep even to the extent of injuring or killing! Open the history books to Germany/Poland/Hungary circa WWII. The Ukraine before that etc. etc. Please don't try to tell me they are only enforcing....very poor excuse for taking a baton while sitting on a 6ft horse and beating people on the head and knocking them to the ground and then beating them some more until the point they are in a coma in the hospital! And no this is not an exaggeration. This happened in Amona and is happening here! Arresting 13yr old girls on street corners and putting them in PRISON for 3 months I take it is also enforcement, right? Where on earth is your Jewsih heart? Isn't your neshoma crying out????

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You dont get what i am saying here, Israel is a state. Whether or not its inhabitants are jewish, and you cry for people who BREAK THE LAW to get special treatment, they still need to follow laws. they should be ready to suffer the consequences when they dont. even if they have the best intentions of prtecting the torah. if they really look at themselves in battle to save the torah like the partyrs of old, they should be ready to accept their martyrdon. if thery conider themselves moder day asarah harugai malchus, then shut up and take it like a martyr.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you don't get it.....Eretz Yisroel as G-d's gift to HIS people transcends a State created by the UN. While Boruch Hashem we have the State and I believe (though I may me wrong) that we should be eternally thankful for the state.....ERETZ YISROEL transcends the state.....and if you don't believe that, we unfortunately have very little to discuss and I daven for your neshoma and all of those who share similar views.....take Tel Aviv, Herzaliya etc. I want Yerushalayim, I want Chevron, I want Shechem, I want Kever Rochel, I want Beit Kel, and most of all I want Har Habayis and if you think for a second that Israel with its half naked mixed beaches, clubs, shopping malls, and all walks of life is Ketz Smichat Geulaseinu, that is just downright sad. It is not a contradiction to love all Jews, yet know they are very very far from where they should be. The same can be said of us on a national level. THINK ABOUT IT AND THINK WITH YOUR HEART. There is a lot of leeway in "LAW" to do a lot of things that are wrong and inapproriate (such as jailing a 13yr old for 3 months and beating children over the head and sending soldiers to Lebanon on a death march for your own gains).....there is also a concept called "MARTIAL LAW" that is within the bounds of the law. So stop hiding behind....if it's government it's justified. What would be if the town used emminent domain to take your house away from you.....my friend that is also within the confine of the law. THINK WITH YOUR HEART. LET IT OPEN UP AND LET GO OF THE ANGER YOU SO OBVIOUSLY HARBOR

10:14 AM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'To vote for someone whom you cannot moraly vote for is nothing but throwing a monkey wrentch in they system.'

I just voted. :-) In one race I did not feel that I could cast a vote for either the Democratic or the Republican candidate this year. So I cast a write-in vote. In New York City we still use the old fashioned mechanical lever voting machines, but it still was not difficult.

VOTE!!!

10:32 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

I voted today. So many names on those ballot machines!

Since you're all in the mood of voting, why not help make a Kiddush HaShem and vote for me as well? I'm the first name on the list :)

10:57 AM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:21 PM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

One thing I wonder about is if it's good to be too heavily invested in a specific candidate. In Baltimore the frum community appears to be going for Ehrlich very strongly. (Rough estimate: lawn signs run 10 - 1 in Ehrlich's favor.)
So whether he's promoted to governor or simply remains mayor, how will O'Malley act towards that frum community in the coming years? Will he be contentious because of this rejection (though, like all communities he had strong support in his runs for mayor from the frum)? Or will he see that frum Jews reward those who are responsive to our needs and will be forthcoming in his dealings with us?
(I am a Republican and 100% for Ehrlich, I'm just wondering if from a community standpoint it would be better our loyalty was more divided.)

2:22 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'In Baltimore the frum community appears to be going for Ehrlich very strongly. '

Please report back on the actual election results from the frum areas. Lawn signs are not necessarily a good indicator of final result -- I saw a lot of Bush signs in the Bronx in 2004 but it voted 83% for Kerry. I agree that it is better that we not all ally ourselves with the same party -- except when one party nominates a candidate who is an anti-Semite, which rarely happens any more.

3:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applaud Mike Bloomberg for backing Joe Leiberman who will no doubt victorious this evening

3:21 PM  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Lawn signs aren't everything. But today's mock election in Bais Yaakov had both Ehrlich and Steele win handily. And I don't know anyone (personally) who is voting for O'Malley.
And 4 years ago I heard from Ira Forman of the NJDC two Jewish precincts went something like 80% for Ehrlich. He's done everything to keep the frum community supporting him.

9:05 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

when people go against the law, they get put away, it's that simple. I don't care who you are and i don't care what your doing, if you break the law you get put away. EVEN IF YOU BREAK THE LAW IN PROTEST!

it's part and parcel of our obligations. People who should not be put away should not be alowed to be any where near those protests and the perents who allowed that to happen are reprehensable and abusive, and honestly aught to have their kids taken away.

9:56 PM  
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4:27 AM  
Anonymous fast loan said...

People! Always vote, dont think that your vote wont decide anything. Its not true.

10:37 AM  

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