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Rabbi Takes Stand for Jerusalem in DNC Prayer

Stresses “golden and capital city” after it was temporarily cut from platform

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Rabbi David Wolpe gives the closing benediction during day two of the Democratic National Convention .(Cspan)

When I interviewed Rabbi David Wolpe in advance of his prayer at the DNC, he told me that “If there’s something that I very much object to, I’ll point it out, but I try mainly not to be a political rabbi, but a rabbi.” He made such an objection known last night.

On Wednesday, reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was removed from the DNC platform, before being forced back in by party leadership over the protests of many delegates. Wolpe had accepted his speaking slot last Thursday, with no notion that he would capping a day of such turmoil and consternation on the convention floor and within the American Jewish community. Tasked with delivering the day’s closing benediction, Wolpe chose to take a stand.

“You have taught us that we must count on one another; 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 that golden and capital city of Jerusalem—that those children of Israel did not walk through the wilderness alone,” he stated, placing special emphasis on the word the DNC had almost omitted.

Read the full benediction as delivered below:

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 Isaiah taught us: shiftu yatom, v’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 world we have known.

Each of these changes touches all of us: for you have taught us that we must count on one another; 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 that golden and capital city of Jerusalem, that those children of Israel did not walk through the wilderness alone.

Rachmana, merciful God, may we be guided by your wisdom, and so become more understanding and tolerant 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 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.


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This was totally unnecessary and divisive. Does no one any good … and I am a

PhillipNagle says:

The removal of the 2008 platform language on Israel was a deliberate slap at Jewish voters whom the Dems take for granted. The reinsertion of the language was pure farce. Any voter who believes that Obama is a supporter of Israel is a fool.

    Are you aware of the Republican platform changes regarding Israel? “Undivided” Jerusalem is now Jerusalem. No mention of moving the embassy there. When asked about it, a Republican representative replied, “No comment.” When the pot calls the kettle black, the pot ought to have a comment.

      PhillipNagle says:

      That means that the Republican platform was still more pro Israeli than the Democrat’s. Evan Chuck Schumer, one of Obama’s leading apologists when it comes to Israel, could not explain Obama’s position. This was a stab in in the back to a group that gave Obama almost 80% of its vote. If it goes below 60% he will be an ex-president come January.

        Did the “group” come together and decide to “give” 80% of its vote to Obama? No. Individual Jews with independent minds cast their vote, and that’s what will happen this election. As much as I am a very proud Jew and Zionist, I’m not filled with enough hubris to believe the Jewish vote can swing an election. It will only make a difference in Florida, and there are a lot of states in play.

        When one looks at the facts, one can’t deny Obama’s support of Israel. I don’t know or care if he loves Israel. I do know that under his administration, America has given more financial support than ever, more intelligence has been shared and US-Israel joint training exercises are on the increase. Obama and Netanyahu probably don’t like each other. They don’t have to. As long as the US supports Israel monetarily and the governments work together for Israel’s security, I don’t need a love-fest between the nation’s leaders.

          Pam Green says:

          You’re wrong. You’re simply repeating assumptions, not facts! Obama has cut way, way back on military support for Israel, including the missile defense system. And US-Israel joint training exercises are NOT on the increase! Just the opposite! The U.S. has cancelled several this year, while going ahead with training of Arab countries – in which, it is feared, Obama is even sharing Israeli technology and know-how with these Arab terrorists!

          What Obama has given is what he was forced to give by Congress and by the agreements of former presidents – and nothing more! Obama takes credit for assistance to Israel that he aggressively tried to cut off!
          Read some of the articles at the Gatestone Institute website, for instance,

          Pam Green says:

          Who is “we”? And who do you rely on for your facts? If you “choose to engage in reality”, surely you can provide factual sources, which, thus far, you’ve failed to supply. Perhaps you’d condescend to list them. Israeli sources confirm what I’ve read on Gatestone. If you know better, do share your credentials and documentation!

        Pam Green says:

        I agree! This is how the Democrats repay the loyalty of its Jewish supporters! And leaders like Schumer and Wexler and Wasserman Schultz send the wrong message, one of accommodation. They go so far as to blatantly lie about Obama’s support for Israel, reinforcing decades-old stereotypes that no longer hold! They are not doing Israel, or American Jews, any favors.

    I totally agree

    Pam Green says:

    Not only is it a slap in the face, it is a public slap in the face. The entire world was tuned in, as Democratic delegates booed the reinsertion of the language regarding Jerusalem. And what wasn’t reinserted was any reference denying the ‘right of return’. This gave comfort to Israel’s enemies and to anti-Semites everywhere. They vividly saw that Israel and America are not united. Thanks DNC! Thanks Obama! Thanks Schumer and Wexler!

FirstStateJew says:

I am glad I got to read Rabbi Wolpe’s remarks here as I have not been watching either of the conventions. Also I really do not need the Democrats of Republicans to tell me the obvious…that Jerusalem if the capital of Israel. I am grateful that The Iron Dome and other military systems are there defending Jerusalem and the entire Land.

    Pam Green says:

    No, the Iron Dome and other military systems are not there defending the entire land! The missile defense system that was promised to Israel is being sent in pieces, and without the crews necessary for installation, maintenance and training. This is Obama’s doing.

Rabbi Wolpe is not my Rabbi as I am orthodox, but I’ve always liked him. (Okay, his stand on the Exodus from Egypt was a little much, but there always room for opinions I suppose.) Good for him for stating so clearly what should have not needed to be stated. I wish good health and happiness this coming to him and his family for the new year.

He gave a wonderful benediction. But what’s ironic is that the two groups against the inclusion of God and the mention of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital are actually opposed to each other: extreme left-wing atheists and Muslims.

Pam Green says:

I’d like to know what time Rabbi Wolpe finally got to speak? I was waiting. And what I saw was that the DNC started the long, tedious nominating process of counting delegate votes, right after Clinton. And people left the stadium in droves. So who was still around to hear the prayer? Even the news media left; try to find the prayer on the web! This was yet another slap in the face of every Jew, which would not have gone unnoticed by the world at large, and the Islamist extremists in particular.

Pam Green says:

I agree. Moreover, from what I’ve read, it seems that Obama personally intervened to change the language, excising those important passages about the right of return, Hamas, etc. According to the DNC, the platform was rewritten (the first time) to “better align with White House policy”. And Obama was exceeding his authority by doing this – violating a law passed by Congress in 1995. And where was Obama when pandemonium broke out on the floor of the convention? He was back in his hotel room, probably laughing his head off! And, of course, he hasn’t issued an apology or explanation. We must defeat this raging anti-Semite.

Pam Green says:

Don’t preach to me about being “gracious”. Is it gracious of you to say that I am “intent upon discrediting anyone that doesn’t support [my] perspective”? No, it’s untrue and unfair. If, as you say, Gatestone is not a reliable source, then tell me which sources you would recommend.

Thus far, you haven’t backed up any of your criticisms or generalizations. And yet you are here, trying to influence your fellow Jews to vote for Obama! I happen to believe, based on the information I’ve studied, that an Obama win would hurt Israel and America, So, sorry, I can’t wish you luck!

Not only did Rabbi Wolpe speak to an almost empty hall…the DNC approved the platform UNANIMOUSLY on Aug. 11, 2012, in Detroit. And no one noticed the change in language about Israel and Jerusalem? The platform conference was led by Cory Booker, who was thrown under the bus by Axelrod and Jarrett after the fiasco in Charlotte. Oh, btw…the language about Hamas from the 2008 platform was NOT reinserted.

    Pam Green says:

    Thank you for confirming this! I too wonder why it took so long for anyone to notice the change! To me it seems very suspicious.

So sad to see such a small audience for such an important prayer.

brynababy says:

Debra, There is no point in trying to have an intelligent and reasonable discussion with Pam Green. She is a rabid idealogue, a disgrace to all that Judaism and Americanism stands for. She purports to have all kinds of “facts” to support her extreme and hateful views. I guess some God speaks only to her ear. Don’t bother Debra. People like Greeen are dangerous. These are the people who’s Israeli children behave like Arab terrorists. That’s not what I want for Jewish children.

    Pam Green says:

    Feel better now, now that you have a pal to be stupid with? Your kind always gravitates toward group-think. You’re a herd animal. A cow. People eat cows’ brains, you know? Then again, based on your deranged comments, you might have encephalitis or mad cow disease, in which case your brains wouldn’t even be safe to spread on a piece of toast.

    At least an inflammation of the brain would be a pardonable excuse for your defamation of Israelis, God, and me. I’ll pray for you. And I’ll pray that no one lets a person of your loathsome character decide the fates of Jewish children.

      brynababy says:

      You really are nuts! Defamation of Israelis?! Are you kidding. No one suports Israel more than me. I have Israeli children and grandchildren. I have been to Israel 20 times for months at a time. You are a deranged woman.

        Pam Green says:

        I quote you: “These are the people who’s Israeli children behave like Arab terrorists. “

          brynababy says:

          Of course I said that and meant it. But thank God, that was only a few bad apples. * Most* Israelis would *never *behave in such a disgusting and immoral and illegal acts. and have spoken out against such ugly actions.

          Pam Green says:

          Canada just cut off diplomatic relations with Iran, and gave the Iranian diplomats 5 days to get out of their country! Too bad your lying, terrorist-loving Obamination hasn’t done the same. Nope, he’s all for the Iranians, and the Muslim Brotherhood. He’s their lap dog, and you, blind bimbo that you are, don’t see a thing. Even his sanctions are a lie. He granted so many exceptions that Iran is doing brisk business in Asia and speedily developing its nuclear bombs. But never fear – I’m sure you’ll be able to get in a few more shopping trips to Tel Aviv before your children and grandchildren feel the radiation.

Rosalie H. Kaye says:

Thanks to Tablet & C Span I was able to read and listen to Rabbi Wolpe’s fine benediction! I watched all 3 nights of the convention and of course his benediction wasn’t featured in the TV coverage! There seemed to be such strong anti-Israel as well as anti-semetic feelings at the democratic convention- I thought perhaps that in my lifetime I would see less of these ugly feelings at these get togethers- doesn’t seem like it will happen. I wish there were a better choice for this election- I really don’t want to cast my vote for President Obama, but Romney is simply not for me – so I don’t have much of a choice this go round.

    Pam Green says:

    Not only wasn’t it in the TV coverage, the DNC official website DID NOT carry anything about Rabbi Wolpe’s benediction. No video, no story, no transcript.

This is such utter nonsense. Those who are way upset over either the process of inserting the Jerusalem language into the platform or Rabbi Wolpe’s benediction being on so late need to, somehow get a grip on reality.

Convention benedictions are, by definition, the last thing on the day’s agenda. Most of the time they are on as the delegates are leaving or have left.

The primary speech of the evening was given by Bill Clinton. If you think that, somehow, Clinton will give a short speech or someone can tie him down to a short speech you really have never heard or seen him, when given an adoring audience.

As far as the platform language is concerned, both parties have had similar Jerusalem language in their platform for decades. Whether the Republicans or Democrats won the election, nothing changed. The State Department (again, either in Democratic or Republican administrations) has overridden party intent. Frankly, the language is a crock until a President gives instructions to the Secretary of State and follows through, with threatened and probably real firings.

    Pam Green says:

    Obama’s State Department is refusing to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – so a President has given instructions and that president is Obama. And his instructions are not to recognize Jerusalem. By doing this, Obama is violating an American law passed in 1995 recognizing. The same law ordered America to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but gave presidents the ability to postpone the move, by submitting waivers on a 6-month basis. In all of his waivers, Bush included a statement that his administration was working toward the move. In Obama’s waivers, he removed Bush’s phrase. So much for the platforms of the Democrats and Republicans being the same.

    As for when Wolpe spoke, he was originally scheduled to go on right after Clinton. And it would have taken all of 5 minutes to let Wolpe speak before people left, before the interminable nominating process began.

jackie silverberg says:

This rabbi is a court jester, put a pair of bells o his toes and a pair of tights, and ribbons on his hat, and he will do summersaults and bend overs for Obama. He had the ear of the president, and said nothing. Court Jew he is.

harry Cox says:

Reb Wolpe is a wussie


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Rabbi Takes Stand for Jerusalem in DNC Prayer

Stresses “golden and capital city” after it was temporarily cut from platform

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