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Shabbat Message - Responsibility To Vote



I couldn't help thinking about the irony of the juxtaposition of our celebration of Purim, commemorating a time when the Jews were powerless and through the actions of Mordecai and Esther we were able to win the day, and the recent primary elections in our hometown of Chicago.  

In Shushan, the Jewish people were victorious and Haman was defeated.  But what did victory mean?  Before the intercession of Esther we were living under the domination of Ahasuerus and after her pleas on our behalf and the defeat of Haman, we were still living under the domination of Ahasuerus, albeit with better conditions for the moment, but exiled from our homeland nevertheless.

Here in Chicago, and throughout the United States, it is true that we are still living in galut, but we all have the option of making aliyah.  In the meantime, we live in a country that has granted us freedom and the right to vote, and there is the irony.  In the recent primary the turnout of registered voters was 32.7%.  Our precincts didn't do much better.

As we all know, there is a Mayoral runoff election taking place in Chicago on April 7.  I believe that all of us who have the right to vote in this election should do so.  If you are not registered you should do so now.  Voting is made easy, with early voting possible beginning March 11 for many of us who may be out of town for Pesach, or who just find it easier to vote at our convenience.

Living in freedom brings with it certain responsibilities, and voting is right up there at the top of the list of things we must do if we wish to preserve our democracy and the opportunities that it provides to us every day.  Thankfully for us, this is Chicago 2015 and not Shushan of old.  Let's act as if we are aware of that!

Shabbat Shalom,

Howard Rieger

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