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July 28 @ 8:00 am - November 3 @ 5:00 pm

From the Beth David Social Justice Sh’ma Group


Applications are now being accepted to vote by mail this fall. Yes, you read that correctly. Voting by mail is safe, secure, and easy. To refresh your memory, Pennsylvanians now have two options to vote by mail:

• Mail-in ballot: Any qualified voter may apply for a mail-in ballot. You may request this type of ballot without a reason.

• Absentee ballot: If you plan to be out of the municipality on Election Day, or if you have an illness or disability, you should request this type of ballot, which still requires you to list a reason for your request

For more details about each type of ballot, click here. Mail-in and absentee ballot applications for the November 3rd General Election must be received by your county election office by 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 27. But why wait? Apply today! It’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about later, and you’ll receive your ballot in the weeks leading up to the election.

The easiest way to apply to vote by mail is online using this link. It only takes a few minutes, and if you provide your email address, you’ll receive updates about the status of your ballot along the way. But there are other ways to apply; click here for details.

Please note that you must apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot for each election, unless you qualify for and request permanent status to vote by mail-in ballot.

In order to apply to vote by mail, you must be registered to vote. To check your registration status, click here. If it turns out you’re not registered, click here to register online. You can also use the online form to change your name, address, political party affiliation, and tell the state if you need assistance to vote. For information about other ways to register to vote, visit this webpage. Regardless of the method you use, October 19 is the last day you can register in order to vote in the 2020 presidential election.

Beth David & the RAC/RAC-PA Civic Engagement Campaign

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s newly established PA Center launched last week, with considerable help from Beth David. Several members of the congregation, along with Rabbi Kalisch and Cantor Goodlev, have been involved in the research and planning that led to the launch, and a large contingent of Beth David congregants participated in last week’s virtual kickoff event. RAC-PA, as it is called, will be focusing on two of the three pillars of the nonpartisan, national RAC civic engagement campaign: obtaining 100% voter participation among Beth David members in the 2020 General Election and combating voter suppression efforts specific to Pennsylvania.

Congregants can volunteer to work on both the national and the Pennsylvania campaign; the two are intertwined. A number of Beth David members have already signed up to participate, received training, and are actively volunteering. Signing up is easy; you just need to complete a brief commitment form for each campaign. The national campaign commitment form is available at rac.org/commit; the Pennsylvania version can be found at rac.org/PAcommit. The campaign coordinators at Beth David will be notified once you sign up.

RAC and RAC-PA offer excellent training programs to volunteers on a regular basis. The sessions are conducted via Zoom, and each one lasts an hour. Programs pertaining to the national campaign take place virtually every Wednesday from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Click here for a list of the topics for upcoming and past sessions. There is one upcoming session, in particular, we recommend. It takes place Wednesday, August 12 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT) and will focus on strategies to become a 100% voting congregation. To sign up, click here.

There are three upcoming training sessions specifically for Pennsylvania volunteers; the dates, times, topics, registration links are as follows:

 July 30th at 8:30pm ET, Voter Match Training with Rabbi Benjamin Ross of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles, CA, who will discuss how to identify low-propensity voters in our congregations by matching membership lists with publicly available voter information.
 August 11th at 8:30pm ET, Voter Mobilization Training with our partners at OnePA, who will explain how to do outreach to low-propensity voters outside the Jewish community.
 August 13th at 8:00pm ET County Advocacy Training with our partners at PA Voice, who will discuss how volunteers can help advocate with county election officials for fair, safe, and secure voting procedures.

The Social Justice Sh’ma Group is in the process of mapping out an action plan to guide our congregation’s participation in the RAC and RAC-PA campaigns. It will consist of our goals, tactics, timing, and other specifics. We’re hoping to be able to distribute it in mid-August; please be on the lookout. If anyone has any questions, concerns, suggestions, etc. in the meantime, please contact either Helene Bludman or Bill Madway.


July 28 @ 8:00 am
November 3 @ 5:00 pm