There is lots of talk about how Bill Clinton repeatedly departed from his prepared remarks in his well-received speech to the Democratic convention. Well, so did Rabbi David Wolpe in his late-night benediction to a largely empty convention hall.
In Wolpe’s case, the rabbi was taking the opportunity to slyly weigh in on the all Jerusalem drama from the past two days. While the Democratic Party added in language to its platform affirming Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Wolpe added a few words about Jerusalem and its status as a capital city that were not in the prepared version of his benediction that was given to press beforehand.
Wolpe began his benediction by disussing America’s "commitment to compassion" and "sacred covenant" to care for those in need, invoking the Prophet Isaiah’s exhortation to defend orphans and protect widows.
Later he said:
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.
The phrase "and ultimately to that golden and capital city of Jerusalem" was not in Wolpe’s prepared remarks.
UPDATE: Turns out there’s more to the Wolpe-Clinton connection than I realized. Before Wolpe delivered his benediction, Politico noted that he was once Momica Lewinsky’s rabbi.
Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of the Los Angeles Sinai Temple, where Lewinsky and her family were members for decades, reports ABC News.
Wolpe, who was named the most influential rabbi in America by Newsweek and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by The Jerusalem Post, criticized Clinton for his relationship with Lewinsky during the scandal in the 1990s.
“He was a brilliant, talented, extraordinary child, and for the leader of the United States we need an adult,” Wolpe told his congregation in 1998, according to the AP.