Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Presidential election years are always fraught with back-and-forth emotions, drama and passionate debates. 2020 is, quite frankly, no different.

However, let's set aside the ideas that New Jersey is not a presidential battleground state, or that you don’t like either candidate, or that you are “too busy” to send in your ballot.

There are other issues at stake. It continues to be of utmost importance, for the betterment of all those in all our communities, to have our voices heard at the ballot box. Our editorial message is not to sway any of our readers to vote in any specific way, but to ensure and remind our readers how and why it is important to be counted in this as well as every election.

While those at the top of the ballot may grab the most headlines, down-ballot candidates, and specifically those serving in congressional districts and in elected state and county offices, see our communities in terms of blocs and numbers. Whether or not our communities “show up” at the ballot box guides political perceptions of us as voters and of whether our concerns are deserving of being heard, even during the years between changemaker elections.

Case in point: In a year when the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made it possible for every family in the nation—including those who keep kosher—to have boxes of healthy school lunches prepared by local caterers for home use, we have seen our government in action. Our friends at Teach NJ and our local politicians have been pivotal in reaching approximately 5,000 children with kosher school lunches each week in Passaic and Bergen counties alone. That’s not even counting the other kosher programs in Essex, Union and Middlesex.

We need our communities to continue to have the ability to advocate for our collective needs, whether those needs are advocating for security funding for our shuls and schools, requesting USDA kosher food boxes, in ensuring Israel’s right to exist or fighting anti-Semitism.

Voting is the first and best way to exercise our rights.

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