DENVER, Aug 16, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, will deliver the invocation at the Democratic National Convention Thursday, August 28, at Denver’s INVESCO Field, the night that Sen. Barack Obama is scheduled to accept the Democratic nomination.
“I am deeply honored to have been invited to offer a religious voice at this celebration of American democracy; the opportunity to do so at an evening of such historic significance to our nation is especially meaningful,” Saperstein said.
At the Conventions, as at so many other public events, the invocation serves as an opportunity for religious leaders to raise up in a non-partisan manner the moral challenges facing the country and to pray that the country’s leaders have the wisdom and courage to resolve them.
“We are honored that a representative of the Reform Movement was selected to give the invocation the night the first African-American accepts the nomination to the highest office in our land,” said Peter Weidhorn, chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism. “We hope that leaders of our Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry, will likewise be among those religious voices invited to be heard at the Republican Convention.”
An array of prominent religious leaders, including the heads of several Jewish, Christian and Muslim denominations and national organizations, are participating in both conventions. Saperstein commended both parties for welcoming religious leaders to the conventions. The DNC and Sen. Obama had significantly expanded both outreach to the faith communities and the visibility of the faith communities at the convention, including the decision to begin the Democratic convention with a public interfaith service of Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.
Saperstein, who is a leader in a number of interfaith and public interest coalitions, has worked with a broad array of leaders from both parties in forging coalitions to address pressing issues such as poverty, health care, hunger, the environment, Middle East Peace and Israel’s security. He has led the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism for 34 years, providing a voice for Reform Judaism in Washington. He currently co-chairs the Coalition to Preserve Religious Liberty, comprised of over 40 national religious denominations, educational and religious freedom organizations, and serves on the boards of numerous national organizations including the NAACP and People For the American Way. In 1999, Rabbi Saperstein was elected as the first Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom created by a unanimous vote of Congress.
An attorney, Rabbi Saperstein teaches seminars in both First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law School.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism not only advocates on a broad range of social justice issues but provides extensive legislative and programmatic materials used by synagogues, federations and Jewish community relations councils nationwide, and coordinates social action education programs that train nearly 3,000 Jewish adults, youth, rabbinic and lay leaders each year.
For more information on the work of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, see www.rac.org.