Rabbi Wolpe recently co-authored a book with Pastor Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church, the popular evangelical leader—and sharp critic of President Obama.
Rabbi Wolpe has also teamed up with conservative Christian thinker Dinesh D’Souza, the director and narrator of the anti-Obama documentary, 2016: Obama’s America.
Given this background, it would be understandable if the Democrats refused to allow Rabbi Wolpe access to the Democratic National Convention. Instead, he’s been selected to deliver an invocation at the Democratic National Convention.
Despite his partnerships with conservative Christians, Rabbi Wolpe states, “being a rabbi doesn’t give me special political insight. So, I don’t like to preach to people about exactly the political positions they should take.” (source)
An article in TableMag.com shares the following:
… unlike many American rabbis who use their pulpits to promote their political views, Wolpe avoids partisanship and has managed to avoid being pinned down politically, largely because he consistently puts his religious agenda first. He has worked with conservative religious leaders to defend faith in contemporary society, reached out to Jews beyond his own denomination, and filled his writing with religious—rather than political—exhortations.
“I actually think that it is a mistake for a rabbi to endorse one candidate or another,” said Wolpe. “I really see my role as apolitical.”
And though his insistence that he is nonpartisan can sound to some ears like pablum, Wolpe genuinely occupies a singular place in the American Jewish community, managing to transcend typical communal divisions even as he takes strong stands on particular issues.
“I really deeply believe in the ongoing dialogue between Jews and others Jews, Jews and the non-Jewish world, and the Jews and God.”
It’s a bridge-building ideology that is evident in much of Wolpe’s work, which tends to focus on the common bonds of faith rather than the often divisive currents of contemporary politics. (Source: TabletMag.com)
Commentary. Below is a commentary by Greg Johnson about the choice of Rabbi Wolpe to deliver the invocation at the DNC.
“At all times, and even more so during the divisive season of political campaigns, for the sake of our national unity, it’s essential that we make an extra effort to be respectful, inclusive, and embracing of those who may have different views. The choice of Rabbi David Wolpe and his acceptance represent a very significant gesture in the direction of cooperation and national unity. Despite our differences, we will not be divided.” ~ Greg Johnson
Video. Below is a video of the benediction along with a transcript.
|00:00:18||AND NOW FOR THE BENEDICTION.|
|00:00:39||DEAR GOD, WE ARE GRATEFUL THAT OUR NATION IS FOUNDED ON THE HIGHEST PRINCIPLES OF FREEDOM AND RESOURCEFULNESS AND CREATIVITY AND EVER RENEWED STRENGTH.|
|00:00:51||WE UNDERSTAND THAT THOSE WERE THE IDEALS STAND ALONGSIDE THE COMMITMENT TO COMPASSION, TO GOODNESS, OUR SACRED COVENANT TO ARE BEREAVED AND BEREFT, WHO ARE FRIGHTENED, HUNGRY, BEWILDERED AND LOST, WHO SEEK SHELTER FROM THE COLD.|
|00:01:17||AS THEIR PROFIT ISAIAH TAUGHT US, SHE IS — DEFEND THE ORPHAN AND FIGHT ON BEHALF OF THE WIDOW.|
|00:01:29||WE KNOW THAT OUR PLANT IS LIFTED NOT ONLY TO ELIMINATE OUR WAY BUT TO SERVE AS A BEACON TO OTHERS THAT HEAR THIS LAND IS A PLACE WITH THE DREAMS OF A WEARY WORLD FLOURISH AND INDOOR — AND IS A SINGLE MOMENT, IT LIFE.|
|00:01:54||TOUCHED, I GLANCE CAN CHANGE A OUR CHILDREN LOOK TO US WITH ASPIRATIONAL — HOPE THAT THEIR KINDER, SPEAKER — SWEETER, SMARTER THAN THE WORLD WE HAVE KNOWN.|
|00:02:15||ALL OF US.|
|00:02:15||EACH OF THESE CHANGES SUCH AS 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 AND THE WEIGHT THAT SANCTIFIED AND CHERISHED LAND — ON THE WAY TO THAT SAID THE FIGHT AND CHERISHED LAND AND THAT CAPITAL CITY OF JERUSALEM, THAT THOSE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DID NOT WALK TO THE BILL PREDICTED THE WILDERNESS ALONE.|
|00:02:46||— DID NOT WALK THROUGH THE WILDERNESS ALONE.|
|00:02:53||WAVE — MAYBE BE GUIDED BY YOUR WISDOM.|
|00:02:57||MAY OUR SOULS BE A LARGE BUT EMPATHY AND UPLIFTED BY LEADERS AND THINKERS AND TEACHERS WHO BELIEVE IN STRENGTH OF SOUL AND WONDERFUL VISIONS.|
|00:03:11||SO TOGETHER WITH RIGHT AND LEFT WORSHIPING THE SAME GOD, OUR NATION, THIS IS STRONG, BLESSED NATION, FILLED WITH SPIRIT AND CALLED TO NOBLE CAUSE WILL BECOME MORE PASSIONATE, MORE PURPOSEFUL, MORE BURNISHED AND BRIGHT TO THE WARMTH OF YOUR EMBRACE.|
|00:03:39||AND THE EXTRAORDINARY POWER, DEAR GOD, OF YOUR LOVE.|