The 2020 Democratic National Convention kicked off virtually on Monday with appearances from the likes of Eva Longoria, Bernie Sanders and Michelle Obama. But on Tuesday, a local rabbi had the honor of sharing a small piece of the limelight by delivering the opening prayer at a Jewish community breakout session.
Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin of Oakland’s Temple Sinai addressed the DNC’s Jewish American Community Meeting held via livestream Tuesday afternoon, attended by Jewish members of Congress, party leaders, DNC officials and members of the public. The meeting was one on a slate of events on Day 2 of the nominating convention, which also included a disability council meeting, a small business council meeting and a Muslim delegates assembly.
Mates-Muchin was taking part as a private citizen, and not on behalf of her synagogue.
“We begin with gratitude,” Mates-Muchin said by way of opening her prayer. “Eloheinu v’Elohei avoteinu v’imateinu, our god and god of our mothers and fathers, we thank you for the strength that enables us to be here today.”
In her remarks, Mates-Muchin gave “thanks for the candidacy of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, two individuals who have taken on the mantle of leadership, including all of the significant burdens and responsibilities it entails.”
She also discussed the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday and the cycle of reflection and “recalibration” it invites of “understanding where we are, and of intentionally working to move toward where we want to be.” She ended by saying, in Hebrew, “May god give strength to all people,” and “May god bless all people with peace.”
The event lasted two hours and featured remarks from Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, Andy Levin of Michigan and Aaron Keyak, Biden’s Jewish engagement director who grew up in San Francisco and was profiled in J. last month.
Mates-Muchin’s appearance won appreciation from at least one local official, via a tweet from Oakland city councilmember Dan Kalb.
“Great 2 see Oakland’s own Temple Sinai Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin kick off the Democrat’s Jewish Community gathering,” he wrote, tagging Harris’ Jewish husband, Doug Emhoff, and Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, a state Assembly member from Orinda. He concluded with the hashtag “#UnitedForBiden.”