USY-er Explains Why Your Mercaz Vote Matters


Having graduated from high school almost two years ago, in hindsight, it’s easy to see why USY meant so much to me: it gave me best friends and endowed me with a sense of purpose. Most of all, USY instilled in me a sense of Jewish community and in peoplehood. It is with this mentality that I am participating in the upcoming World Zionist Congress election – and I need your support.

Every five years, North American Jews cast their ballots to send delegates to the Congress, the only election in which Jews outside of Israel can participate and effect real change within Israel. The Conservative/Masorti Movement’s official slate is called MERCAZ – Slate #6. Now, more than ever, MERCAZ needs your support.

The Congress allocates $1 billion in funding to various Jewish organizations, and our movement’s programs desperately need access to those funds (USY Summer Programs, Nativ, The Fuchsberg Center for Conservative Judaism, and Ramah are just a few of Conservative programs that use this money). What’s more, the Congress has critical influence in Israeli policy and can advance matters of religious pluralism in Israel. Conservative Jews are not equal in the eyes of the ultra-Orthodox-controlled rabbinate. If you want to change that, supporting MERCAZ is the best way.

To vote, you have to be Jewish, at least 18 years old as of June 20, 2020 (**this is especially important for seniors**), and agree to a short statement supporting Zionism. If you’re not going to be 18 years old by that date – MERCAZ still needs you! Everyone, regardless of their age, should be mobilizing people to vote; MERCAZ needs widespread support in your chapters’ synagogues.

Voting begins on Monday, January 21 and runs through March 11, 2020. You can vote by heading over to or texting the word ‘Vote’ to 917.336.1162.

And after you vote – here’s some other ways you can help:

  • Contact your rabbi and board of trustees to stress the importance of this election.
  • Ask if your synagogue has already appointed a person to campaign for MERCAZ within your synagogue. If so, reach out to them; if not, ask to start one.
  • Get your family and friends – anyone at least 18 years of age – to vote!

For more information about MERCAZ and this critical election for Conservative Judaism, please visit

Alan Imar was HaNegev Regional President from 2017 to 2018. He also served two years on the USY International General Board. Alan now attends Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary.

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