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July 28, 2016 / Rabbi Laura

Words to Remember, Words to Live By

As I wait, in anticipation, for tonight’s HISTORIC nomination acceptance speech by Hillary Clinton, I am reflecting on the powerful words that have been spoken in the past 48 hours at the Democratic National Convention.

Last week, I was scared. Each night I went to sleep wondering, what has our nation become?! I did not grow up in a country that embraces xenophobia, racism & bigotry, bullying, and violence against those different than us in body, mind or faith.  We are supposed to be the country that fights AGAINST those things!

Jefferson ingrained our core values:

“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.”

Emma Lazarus words are inscribed on our Lady Liberty: ”

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

This week has made me proud to be an American. Proud to stand on the shoulders who fought – and to support those who continue to fight – for freedom, democracy and for every human being’s God-given rights.

All these words make me think forward into our future – not just November 2016 and January 2017 – but into a future in which my children and (God-willing) grand children will live and prosper.

I’ve pull together what I think are some of the most poignant, salient and powerful words I’ve heard, so that I can come back to them, remember them, as we continue down this challenging election road. For when I get scared again, I know these words will give me hope, will inspire me to action AND participation in the democratic process.


First Lady Michelle Obama, July 26, 2016, Democratic National Convention

With every word we utter, with every action we take, we know our kids are watching us. We as parents are their most important role models….I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters, a president who truly believes in the vision that our Founders put forth all those years ago that we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story. And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other. No, we listen to each other, we lean on each other, because we are always stronger together.


President Bill Clinton, July 26, 2016, Democratic National Convention

Those of us who have more yesterdays than tomorrows tend to care more about our children and grandchildren. The reason you should elect her is that in the greatest country on Earth, we have always been about tomorrow. Your children and grandchildren will bless you forever if you do


Vice President Joe Biden, July 27, 2016, Democratic National Convention

That’s why, that’s why I can say with absolute conviction, I am more optimistic about our chances today than when I was elected as a 29 year old kid to the Senate. The 21st century is going to be the American century. Because we lead by not only by the example of our power, but by the power of our example. That is the history of the journey of America. And God willing, God willing, Hillary Clinton will write the next chapter in that journey. We are America, second to none. And we own the finish line. Don’t forget it.


Governor Tim Kaine, July 27, 2016, Democratic National Convention

“Thomas declared all men equal, and Abigail remembered the women. Woodrow brokered peace, and Eleanor broke down barriers. Jack told us what to ask, and Lyndon answered the call. Martin had a dream, Cesar y Dolores said si se puede, and Harvey gave his life. Bill bridged a century, and Barack gave us hope.

“And now Hillary is ready. Ready to fight, ready to win, ready to lead.


President Barack Obama, July 27, 2016, Democratic National Convention

We’re not a fragile people. We’re not a frightful people. Our power doesn’t come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way.  We don’t look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that We the People, can form a more perfect union.

That’s who we are. That’s our birthright — the capacity to shape our own destiny. That’s what drove patriots to choose revolution over tyranny and our GIs to liberate a continent. It’s what gave women the courage to reach for the ballot, and marchers to cross a bridge in Selma, and workers to organize and fight for collective bargaining and better wages. (Applause.)

America has never been about what one person says he’ll do for us. It’s about what can be achieved by us, together — through the hard and slow, and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately enduring work of self-government.



  1. Marilyn / Jul 28 2016 6:37 pm

    We are watching and listening also. Fabulous! Love and xxxxxxxxxx’s to all M&P

  2. Vivien / Jul 30 2016 2:33 pm

    Thanks for putting this together, Laura! These were some of the best speeches we’ve ever heard!

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