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Benediction by Rabbi Morris Shmidman at the Democratic National Convention (1988)

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Avinu shebaShamayim — Heavenly Father
who gives strength under governments
and understanding unto mortals,
bestow Thy blessings, we pray Thee
upon Thy beloved servant
Michael S. Dukakis
on this memorable moment in his life
and the life of the Democratic party
and in the life of our nation.
Thou has showered upon him
exceptional gifts of heart, spirit, and intellect,
of integrity and compassion,
of fairness and resolute leadership,
of boundless devotion to duty,
and extraordinary dedication to the families of America.

Tonight his fellow Democrats
have bestowed their greatest honor upon him
because he uses these gifts not selfishly
but to build a better society for all people.
Grant unto him
the wisdom to see things
not only as they are
but as they ought to be,
strength to set things right,
and faith in the possibility of establishing a society
free of the blight of poverty,
the scandal of homelessness,
the shame of ignorance,
the menace of drugs and crime
and the sin of prejudice.

We pray that this occasion
serves as an inspiration for all of us
to unite behind this great and good leader
in the building of a nation
where all of its citizens
of many colors
and creeds,
and in many voices
sing thy praises, O God,
in amity,
and peace.

Grant unto the delegates gathered here
a genuine spirit of harmony
and removed from all hearts
the animosities that destroy reason
and the desires that blind the vision of Thy truth.
Unite these delegates in a singleness of purpose
assuring for all of our citizens
the blessings of our Democratic heritage
and endow them with courage and determination
to fulfill their responsibilities
honorably to Thee, our nation, and all mankind.
Strengthen their will
to do justly,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly before thee.
Let all mankind see
how good and how pleasant[1] Audio cuts out here, but the previous line suggests Psalms 133:1.  [it is
that brothers dwell together] 
and to trust in God in Heaven securely.

We pray, O Lord,
that Thou make our beloved land
strong with justice,
mighty with love,
great with compassion,
and that it be Thy dedicated instrument
for the fashioning of a world of peace
and justice for all.

This is the full text of Rabbi Morris Shmidman’s benediction offered at the Democratic National Convention, July 20th, 1988, corrected from the closed-caption feed offered by C-SPAN. (Researchers should note that C-SPAN unfortunately has Rabbi Shmidman’s name misspelled as “Schidman.”)




1 Audio cuts out here, but the previous line suggests Psalms 133:1.

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