The old joke, from a different era, was it’s not who votes that counts but who counts the votes that counts. But given the closeness of two of three signature races this Tuesday – the NYC mayoral (recent – admittedly partisan – polling suggests it could be within 5 points) and the NJ gubernatorial, where the latest FDU poll has it within 1 point – suggests otherwise.
It goes without saying that throughout history, Jews have been denied rights (including the most basic and foundational right of all, the right to vote) and we know that many, including the great sage, teacher and leader of Orthodoxy in the last century, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, declared voting in elections was an issue of hakrat hatov, or gratitude to (and for) a land like America where our freedoms are guaranteed by force of law in courts of law and are defended by an honest police force and an honorable military. It’s worth taking a moment to reflect that there are still places in our world today where religious minorities aren’t fully free. Voting will help those in need in our own community here at home but it also helps others (Jew and gentile) around the world.
Whether you vote for the winner or loser in Tuesday’s election, what matters most is that you vote. On issues of importance to the Orthodox community: constitutionally permissible aid to day schools/yeshivas and to tuition paying parents; on the ever present needs of protecting our shuls and schools and those who pray and study there from crime and from terror; and on other vital issues of the day, what is crucial is that our community votes.
And while it’s always nice to pick a winner, what is more vital in ensuring that a community’s concerns are taken seriously is not that they voted for the winner but that they voted, period. That was the gist of the OU’s voter outreach efforts this year in these three races. As a nonprofit, we can’t endorse. But the reality is, we don’t need to.
To see the OU’s advertisement on voting, click here. And please, this Tuesday, vote your conscience.