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Benediction by Rabbi Moshe Faskowitz at the Democratic National Convention (1996)

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen of this convention, it is my honor and privilege tonight to both bless you and remind you of the sacred responsibility that you carry as bearers of the noble heritage of the Democratic Party, the party of Thomas Jefferson, author of our beloved Declaration of Independence, which defines the lofty goals and holy mission of this great and wonderful country.

Jefferson’s immortal and inspired phrases, that all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights laws, are actually the political restatement of the most fundamental concept in the Book of Genesis. We believe as an article of faith that all men and women in this world are created equally in the Divine image and that the highest mission of humanity is to respect, to nurture, and to protect that Divine spark that lives within us all.

The fact is that we live in a world that has yet to embrace this eclectic principle universally. Too much suffering too much pain too much war and too much despair. We live in a world in which our most cherished spiritual and intellectual values are frequently disparaged and adherence to faith and humane values are too often mocked and dismissed. We live in a world in which policies and programs for the benefit of humanity are proclaimed, but the people themselves are apt to be forgotten. It is imperative that we bear in mind that the Democratic party has always reminded this country of the better angels of our nature, of our responsibility to protect the less fortunate, the poor, of the sick, the aged, and the disadvantaged, and to guarantee them the opportunity to enjoy the God-given blessings of this country. The Democratic party has always recognized that the greatness of our country lies in appreciating the right of each of its people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, no matter what their race or gender, their ethnic backgrounds or religious beliefs. Now standing on the threshold of the 21st century as an entire world turns to us for inspiration and leadership, the United States faces the challenge of translating these ancient and historic visions into a contemporary reality. Let us then pray.

Contribute a translation Source (English)

Avinu shebaShamayim — our father in Heaven
bless these dedicated people
this noble Democratic party,
its leaders — the leaders of our glorious country —
with the wisdom, courage, and compassion
to spread throughout the land
this principle of the infinite worth of man.
Bestow upon them a sincere desire
to dedicate our country’s wealth and knowledge
and our bountiful natural and human resources
to creating a latter-day Garden of Eden
for all of its citizens
in peace,
in freedom,
and in love for our fellow human beings
with the universal respect
for that Divine spark
that lives within us all.
And may we thus show the way
for the salvation of all of mankind.
Amen.

This is the full text of Rabbi Moshe Faskowitz’s benediction offered at the Democratic National Convention, August 27th, 1996, corrected from the closed-caption feed offered by C-SPAN.

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