The poles closed earlier this week and the results were posted today.
I did not win the election.
But I am not deterred. I lost to the officially nominated candidate 260 - 156. That means that 155 other Rabbis believed that I was the best man for the job.
This election was a great victory for everyone in the RCA.
- This election brought out more than 40 percent of the membership, still not a stellar voter turnout, but obviously a great improvement over past elections that consisted of just a handful of people affirming the nominated slate.
- There was a great deal of election reform. In past elections, in the rare event that an officer seat was challenged there was absolutely no election oversight. This year, for the first time, the elections were run pro bono by a law firm. There is still a way to go in election reform in order to give petition candidates a fare chance, but this year was a groundbreaking first step in the right direction.
- The current leadership had to work very hard to retain their seats. That means that they are not going to take those seats for granted. If they want to retain those seats in next year's election they will have to be a more active leadership that works hard on behalf of the people that elected them. This will be good for everyone.
- The RCA made front page news in some national Jewish papers. The coverage was inaccurate and served the current leadership's cause by portraying the popular petition candidates as fanatic right wing insurgents. But - the RCA made front page news in a national Jewish paper. That means that people are interested in what is going on in our organization.
- Lest anyone ever say that the RCA is a monolithic organization, our election results clearly demonstrate that there are differences of opinions among the membership. The press tried to portray our internal debate as a bad thing. In fact, our internal debates demonstrate what a great organization the RCA is. 1,000 Rabbis, each with his own distinct set of views and opinions on every thinkable issue, and we all still manage to get along and belong to one group. That is a testament to our commitment to the Jewish value of civil and passionate disagreement and I am proud to be a member of an organization whose by laws allow for dissension and disagreement.
In the meantime, I will continue my regular involvement with the RCA. I am founder and head of the new RCA Social Media Affinity Group (see the website I started for it at www.GoRabbi.com) and I hope to be able to get on the convention committee this year.
Though I was not elected, this year's election was a great victory for the RCA as an organization, for each of its 1,000 members, and for the ten of thousands of people in North America and around the world that are served by Modern Orthodox Rabbis.