A benediction for the Democratic National Convention

Ribono shel olam, Dear God–

We are grateful that our nation is founded on the highest principles of freedom and resourcefulness and creativity and ever renewed strength.  And we understand that those worthy ideals stand alongside the commitment to compassion, to goodness, our sacred covenant to care for those who are bereaved and bereft, who are frightened, who are hungry, who are bewildered and lost, who seek shelter from the cold.

As Your prophet taught us: shiftu yatom, rivu almanah — defend the orphan and fight on behalf of the widow.

We know that our lamp is lifted not only to illuminate our way but to serve as a beacon to others – that here, this land, is a place where the dreams of a weary world flourish and endure.

Ours is a holy charge: a single moment, a touch, a glance, a word, can change a life; our children look to us with aspirational eyes, with the hope that their world will be kinder, sweeter, smarter, than the one we have known. 

Each of these changes touches us all: for You have taught us that we must count on each other; that our country is strong through community, and that the Children of Israel on the way to that sanctified and cherished land, and ultimately to Your golden, capital city of Jerusalem, did not walk through the wilderness alone.

“Rachmana,” Merciful God, may we be guided by Your wisdom, and so become more understanding of the convictions of others; may our souls be enlarged by empathy and uplifted by leaders and thinkers and teachers who believe in strength of soul and wild, wonderful visions; so together, with Right and Left worshiping the same God, our nation, this strong, blessed nation, filled with spirit and called to noble cause, will become more passionate, more purposeful, more burnished and bright through the warmth of Your embrace and the extraordinary power (Dear God) of Your love.

David Wolpe, Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, delivered this benediction at the conclusion of the second day of the Demorcatic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. on September 5, 2012.