Hillary Clinton Is Imperfect. That's OK. We're Nominating a President, Not a Messiah

It’s a messy, loud, contentious Democratic convention, where Bernie supporters’ sad and infuriating intensity is evident. But I feel a real unity between the two campaigns is emerging.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton celebrates on stage during her primary night event at the Duggal Greenhouse, Brooklyn, New York, U.S., June 7, 2016.
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton celebrates on stage during her primary night event at the Duggal Greenhouse, Brooklyn, New York, U.S., June 7, 2016.Credit: Timothy A. Clary, AFP
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

I am so moved to be at the Democratic National Convention in this most critical and terrifying of election years.

I am on the Credentials Committee, which met on Sunday - the day before the convention opened. We debated various issues related to accepting the credentials of those proposed to be delegates from the Hillary and Bernie campaigns. And then a delegate from the Bernie campaign stood and said: In the spirit of unity we move to accept all the recommendations; we move to unify and work to elect Hillary Rodham Clinton as our next President. The room erupted in thunderous applause and a standing ovation. And then another delegate stood up and said she objected to our referring to HRC as the nominee; she was only the presumptive nominee.  

And that was a harbinger of what was to come. of those who are here as delegates for Bernie . In the hall, I find it sad and sometimes infuriating.

When an African-American woman pastor opened the proceedings with a prayer that mentioned Hillary by name, the Bernie delegates shouted her down with chants and boos. It continued through the night in a similar way. Bernie delegates took signs that read: "Stronger together" and changed the lettering so it read "Stop Her". They chanted, "Lock her up" at demonstrations and wore T-shirts that said "Hillary for Jail".

By the end of the evening, there was a deep sense of possibilities of real unity between these two campaigns, backed by the publication of recent .

And I am so moved to be here. When political debates throughout the world are resolved with violence and executions, I am so moved that this messy, loud, contentious convention will nominate a superb woman to be the next President of the United States tonight.    

The process is not perfect and she is not perfect, but as a rabbi, as a Jew, I believe in the spirituality and politics of imperfection. We are nominating a president, not a messiah.   

Hillary's supporting a two-state solution and the rights and dignity for Palestinians has been lost in the charges that she has not expressed deep concern for the Palestinian struggle for freedom and justice. This is what she actually said: "Israelis deserve a secure homeland for the Jewish people. Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state in peace and dignity and only a negotiated two-state agreement can provide those outcomes."

I believe she is the best candidate to be pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian and pro-peace and justice for all.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, spiritual leader of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York City since 1992, has led CBST to become a powerful voice for equality and justice for people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and expressions. Rabbi Kleinbaum has worked for peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians for over 30 years. Follow her on Twitter: