There is a story about the Chazon Ish, an early 20th Century Orthodox rabbi, who ran into a congregant on Election Day. When the congregant admitted having not voted because he could not afford the poll tax, the rabbi told him to sell his tefillin, the boxes he wound around his arm and head each morning before praying. Tefillin, the rabbi argued, could be borrowed, but your vote cannot.
As we near the election in this country, we are equally as interested in making sure that everyone votes. It is our civic duty to do so, and even a Jewish one. A teaching from the Talmud reminds us that “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted” (Babylonian Talmud, Berachot 55a). With the potential for a historic turnout and the reality of a pandemic, there are many more concerns and issues surrounding election day than ever before. Fortunately this year, every voter in Nevada will be receiving an absentee ballot. Concerns about waiting to vote, social distancing, and other barriers to voting are no longer an issue.
If you are eligible to vote, and have not registered, you can do so here: https://www.nvsos.gov/sosvoterservices/Registration/Step0.aspx If you are 17, but will be 18 on election day, you can also register. Mail-in registrations must be postmarked by October 6, 2020, and online registration runs through October 29, 2020. Please let us know if you have any trouble registering or need a hand. We are here to help.
Whether you are concerned about national elections, local issues, or everything in between, we recall the words of Jewish Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: “‘The most important political office is that of the private citizen.” And as citizens, our duty is to cast our ballots and vote.
Rabbi Sara Zober
Rabbi Benjamin Zober