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Covering the stories, the speeches and the reactions, live throughout the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

– The theme for the first day is "United Together"
– Speakers tonight include Senator Bernie Sanders and First Lady Michelle Obama
– Opinion polls currently suggest a close race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
– Get in touch and let us know your thoughts, either via Twitter (@TheSaharZ) or via email (


11:32 – Thank you all very much for the company. We should do this again sometime, say, tomorrow, 10am? I'll bring a round-up of reaction to tonight's events, and we'll have ourselves a great time. Hope to see you then, good night!

11:28 – Slightly awkward moment as the convention moves to recess without the gavel. Terrible. Anyway, some quick takes on the night for you:


11:24 – This is the moment you've all really been waiting for, as Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, head of the Conservative movement, takes the stage to deliver the benediction.

11:22 – Bernie signs off by saying "Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding President, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."

11:19 – He is now talking about the promises he managed to extract from the Clinton camp during the negotiations, and uses it to stress: "It is no secret that HIllary Clinton and I disagree on some of the issues. That's what the campaign was about. That's what democracy is about."

11:15 – I respectfully disagree with Micah Cohen, this feels like a very sincere endorsement, a recognition that he's negotiated with Clinton and achieved promises on many of the demands he fought his campaign on.

11:12 – Sanders concedes that him and Hillary came at the tuition fees debate with different views, but says he has reached an agreement with her that will "revolutionize" the system, and that 83% of students will be able to go to college tuition-free.

11:08 – Bernie is repeating some of the themes set out by Sen. Warren in her speech, although he also mentions the impending Supreme Court justice appointment, which has not been brought up nearly as much by Democrats over the campaign as by Republicans.

11:05 – THERE IT IS! Senator Bernie Sanders says "based on her ideas and leadership, it is clear that Hillary Clinton must become the next President of the United States."

11:01 – He knows his audience, and he's delivering a very good speech.″

11pm – little dig at the media there. I won't take it personally.

10:58 – He's giving his supporters all the greatest hits early on. We've had "a government for everyone, not just the 1%," we've had "$27," and he's said "revolution" six times by my count.

10:56 – Bernie thanks everyone for all the pledged delegates, and says he's looking forward to getting their votes in the roll-call vote tomorrow night. It's an interesting start to an endorsement.


10:54 – I think he's just enjoying the moment to be honest, and why shouldn't he? The crowd are still chanting, and he's still thanking them. He's in absolutely no rush.

10:50 – There are a lot of Bernie signs in the crowd, and I mean *a lot*. He takes two minutes just to try and quieten everyone down enough for him to speak. I think they like him.

10:47 – Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota is up now to introduce the keynote speaker for tonight (it feels like we've had three keynotes speakers already), Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

10:44 – Sen. Warren is wrapping up now. Now it really is Sanders' turn, but his speech is almost guaranteed to go on past 11.

10:41 – She's spent 20 minutes attacking Trump, now she pivots to talking about Clinton and Kaine, and praises them for their values. For each one she says "we believe", her and Hillary, and ends each sentence with "we are with her."

10:35 – Elizabeth Warren, who throughout this campaign has taken on Donald Trump directly, is doing the same tonight. She attacks him for a lack of direction and a lack of policy ideas "except for building that stupid wall."

10:32 – a little light relief:




10:26 – She's never shied away from speaking her mind, and within two minutes, Senator Warren emphatically states "I'm with her", and repeats it twice more for emphasis. Unequivocal.

10:25 – Away from that speech, Senator Joseph Kennedy III has just delivered a light-hearted introduction to Senator Elizabeth Warren, talking about how he first encountered her on his first day of law school, when she was his professor.

10:20 – you think it's just me? Here's a sample of what the internet is saying:




10:17 – This speech is too full of quotable moments to know where to begin. The crowd is on its feet, applauding every line.

10:11 – Not so subtle nod to the Bernie or bust movement: "when Hillary lost the nomination eight years ago, she didn't get angry and walk away"

10:09 – Huge applause for her response to personal attacks on Obama's character: "our motto was always 'when they go low, we go high'"

10:05 – As expected, there is a big reception for the First Lady, complete with signs with her name on them being waved in the front rows.

10:03 – There's a video now introducing Michelle Obama, which means Sanders will be the last speaker, which I'm pretty sure is not what was on the original program. Interesting. Michelle Obama is sure to get the crowd fired up.

10pm – Cheryl Langford, who invested in Trump University courses, is speaking now. She's emotional as she recounts her story. It's a short speech, less than five minutes long, which she ends by begging the crowd "please, don't make the same mistakes I did."


9:53 – Booker is really enjoying himself, big grin on his face as he comes close to the end of his speech, and the crowd is feeding off it. The arena is bouncing now.

9:48 – Celebrity alert! The cameras just zoomed in on President William J. Clinton. He's got good seats too. He must know someone close to the organizers.


9:37 – This is the first time I'm hearing Corey Booker speak, and he really is very good, this is the standout speech of all the politicians tonight. This is a justification of the prominent speaking place he's been given at the convention.

9:35 – Eva Longoria up now, for a bit more star-power. She's here to introduce Corey Booker. Apologies for my jumping the gun on that one. Booker is well-regarded as a speaker, and there are rumours that we can expect some "call and response" on this one.

9:32 – Just before that though, a touching tribute to Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York, who passed away last year.

9:29 – I guess we're about to find out. Hold onto your hats, folks.

9:23 – some mixed opinions then, on Silverman's intervention there, although a lot of support for her message to the "Bernie or bust" crowd. Paul Simon is now serenading the crowd with "Bridge over Troubled Water."

9:20 – She pulled no punches on Trump there, but then when she starts talking about how Hillary and why she'll vote for her… they start booing her and chanting "Bernie, Bernie"… will they do the same when it's Bernie himself on stage? In an apparently spontaneous addition at the end, she says "to the Bernie or bust people, you're being ridiculous."

9:15 – Al Franken is back, with Sarah Silverman alongside him. It's a display of unity, as they point out that Al Franken was "with her" while Silverman was "feeling the Bern." The stage is Silverman's though, as she talks up Bernie's achievements.

9:12 – It feels like the Bernie hour is close at hand. Whatever happens and whatever he says, this is likely to be the defining moment of the convention.

9:08 – Somoza gets loud applause as she finishes her speech. Even Sanders' rowdiest supporters tonight are cheering.

9:04 – The contrast between the Trump videos, this time, the one of him mocking the disabled reporter, and the speaker immediately afterwards, here cerebral palsy sufferer Anastasia Somoza, is jarring, and to me at least, feels very effective. They also didn't miss the opportunity to take a little dig at Chris Christie, who condemned Trump for his behavior at the time.

8:53 – Senator Al Franken of Minnesota is delivering a stand-up comedy routine instead of a speech, which could be taken straight from his Saturday Night Live years. The audience are enjoying it, and it definitely stands out tonight.

8:52 – It seems not everybody is enjoying the convention…

8:49 – Bernie Sanders' speech, and the crowd response to it, is going to be fascinating. Will the behavior of some of his delegates inside tonight affect the welcome given to him by Clinton's delegates?

8:46 – New York is up, specifically, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She's pitching her credentials as a mother, and her speech revolves around issues of women's rights. One of the most repeated phrases in general tonight: "Hillary Clinton gets it."

8:36 – After a slightly awkward ad based around Trump's own-brand products all being outsourced, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania comes on to expand on the theme.

8:30 – State Senator Pat Spearman is the first speaker for this section, which is LGBT rights. I expect Mike Pence to feature heavily here. She's already mentioned him.

8:24 – One for the techies among us who might have been intimidated by the athletes, Jesse Lipson, who is the founder of ShareFile. His job is simple, he's taking Trump to task on his business acumen.

8:20 – Jason and Jarron Collins, retired NBA players, up now. We're into a run of non-politicians. Jason Collins talks about being the first athlete in any of America's four major sports to openly come out as homosexual.

8:18 – Rep. Gutierrez is certainly less focused than previous speakers, he's touching on a broad range of Democrat-friendly issues, from taking on the NRA, to funding Planned Parenthood, to equal pay for equal work.

8:09 – The emphasis on Hispanics is again being made very clear. First Astrid Silva, who talks about growing up as an undocumented migrant. The next speaker, from Puerto Rica, may lose some points for saying he comes from the "great state of Chicago." He's fired up and passionate though.

8:04 – Karla Ortiz, an 11-year old girl who featured in a Clinton campaign ad, is stealing the show. We're into the "immigration" part of the program. She gets a huge round of applause when she says "soy Americano" and the biggest one of the night for "Hillary Clinton for President!"

7:59 – Ok, once was a mistake, twice is chronic. Could someone send a memo round the Democratic Party mailing list pointing out that the VP nominee is "Tim Kaine", not "Jim Kaine" or "Kim Kaine"?

7:55 – D'oh. Jeff Merkely, Senator from Oregon started out unpromisingly when he asked everyone "wasn't Demi Lovato great?!" and then followed up by accidentally saying "where I come from, Donald Trump is not the problem" rather than "not the solution, but the problem." He gives a shout-out to Bernie though, so he's got them on his side.

7:54 – We're now into the next section, climate change. The video introduction focuses on Florida and the Everglades National Park, where it has been… a hot topic.

7:47 – Just as I say to myself "maybe it's time for a non-politician." Enter stage-left, singer Demi Lovato. I feel like most of her demographic is too young to vote, but just as I say that, she gets one of the biggest cheers so far, so what do I know? Short speech, and then into a musical number. That came as the crowd started losing interest (and me too, if I'm being honest). Again, there is a sense that this is well planned.

7:43 – New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen is up now, to expand on Pam Livengood's story and talk about the response of New Hampshire. Again, rather than heckling or applauding, most of the crowd just doesn't seem to be paying attention.

7:40 – Currently on stage is Pam Livengood. Her daughter became dependent on drugs, and Pam took care of her granddaughter to avoid her going into foster care. She emphasizes that Clinton not only listened and spoke to her, but also took action. This is another of the points that the Democrats are hoping will differentiate Clinton from Trump.


7:31 – So, anybody want to take a guess on how long it'll take Michelle Obama to make a plagiarism joke tonight? Tweet me your guesses @TheSaharZ and I'll credit whoever comes closest.

7:21 – Following on from Mayor Walsh's union emphasis, now a group of labor union members are on the stage. Heckling aside, this evening feels a lot more clearly constructed and laid-out than many days of the RNC convention. This is a fiery speech, as you'd expect from a labor leader. Getting a good reception too.

7:17 – Marty Walsh opens by saying "my name is Marty Walsh, and I'm an alcoholic." His speech is focused on labor unions, and how vital they were to helping him.

7:15 – Oops, Sanchez says "Clinton is the only candidate in November", which triggers the Bernie supporters in the crowd. Her speech is finished now, and up next is Marty Walsh, Mayor of Boston.

7:11 – Sanchez gets the crowd booing again. This time it's not aimed at Hillary, but rather when she brings up Donald Trump calling Mexicans "murderers and rapists."

7:06 – Rep. Linda Sanchez talks about the difference Hispanic candidates are making to the Democratic Party. She introduces a video which features Hispanic congresspeople talking about why they ran for Congress. The Democrats are really pushing hard for the Latino vote, which is perhaps unsurprising considering Trump's unpopularity with that demographic.

7:04 – Every few speeches they break it up with a short "message from your possible next President" and a quote from Donald Trump. This one is on marriage, and features him telling the camera "when I get home and dinner isn't on the table, I go through the roof."

7:02 – There's not as much heckling during this speech by John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, as you might expect. There is a low buzz of speech though, like people aren't particularly interested. I think people might be waiting for Bernie.

6:59 – As Nate Silver points out, there isn't a lot of booing and heckling in the crowd, but it's noticeable because it's coming from a delegation close to the cameras:

6:57 – Earlier, Bernie Sanders' former national press secretary had a few words for Bernie's supporters on twitter:

6:53 – Reverend Leah Daughtry up now, she's the CEO of this year's convention. She refers to the Republicans as "our friends on the other side of the aisle." That contrasts with the Pastor Mark Burns, who in his benediction speech at the RNC called Democrats "the enemy." The theme of her speech is "we the people," and says it means "all the people." She finishes by saying we are "stronger together," the theme for today.

6:49 – Gov. Malloy is taking a few minutes of his speech to take on Mike Pence, a fellow governor and Donald Trump's running mate, highlighting his passing of anti-abortion and LGBTQ laws. He also takes on the Republicans readjustment of the congressional district map in 2012, a theme which is expanded upon in a short video after he finishes his speech.

6:43 Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut is giving his life story, growing up with learning difficulties and talking about the support he received. The speeches are definitely following a set formula. Each speaker talks about the barriers they've faced, whether LGBT, learning disabilities, race or religion, and then talk about how Hillary and the Democratic Party have helped them overcome it. There's also usually a dig at Donald Trump, in case people weren't making the comparison themselves. It's simple stuff, but that doesn't mean it's not effective.

6:39 – No freestyle rap, but he does channel Jon Stewart's speech on the Stephen Colbert show, on "this was never their country." He draws a direct comparison between last week's Republican convention and the openly-racist, pro-slavery "Know-nothing Party" of the mid-19th century.

6:36 – Next up, Jim Kenney, the hometown mayor. He starts his speech with "yo Pennsylvania!" which is promising. I'm hoping for a free-style rap.

6:30 – Three speakers up now. The theme from all of them is "We're with Hillary because Hillary was with us." Interestingly, one of them is from California, the state who's delegates have been at the heart of the protests and chanting tonight.


6:23 – Short break from speeches while we take the official DNCC photo. Everybody say cheese!

6:21 – He's now repeating the same speech in Spanish. Worth noting that Tim Kaine, Clinton's running mate, also used part of his launch speech to appeal to a Spanish-speaking audience.

6:20 – Rep. Lowey says "Hillary Clinton will put families first, which is why on the ballot, we have to put her first." Stage invasion now (planned, don't worry), by what seems to be the entire New York delegation. New York State Senator Adriano Espaillat is speaking now. He's a Dominican-American, and points out that he is the first state senator to start out as an undocumented migrant

6:12 – Rep. Nita Lowey of New York is now on the stage. She was a colleague of Hillary's, and is talking about her connection to her, while a small group of protesters chant "Bernie, Bernie." The crowd is not hugely fired up, but they are responding to her. She talks about Hillary's work in the aftermath of 9/11, helping support firefighters and EMT's. Nobody is booing that.

6:10pm – Just before we go ahead with the speeches, I thought this was worth sharing. It's the statement released by the DNC regarding the email leak over the weekend.


6:06pm – Don't ask what a day I've had. Let's just say it involved my computer deciding to go on strike by not connecting to any wifi at the convention center. On my way home, my path was blocked by a protest of Jill Stein supporters, who seemed to have me confused with HIllary Clinton. Anyway, I'm here now, so shall we proceed?

5:00 – The schedule for the convention has been released and there are several Jewish speakers to look forward to for tonight.

From 8:00-10:00 pm:

Al Franken – Jewish US senator from Minnesota will deliver a speech.

Bernie Sanders – Jewish US senator from Vermont will deliver a speech.

Sarah Silverman – Jewish stand-up comedian will introduce Senator Sanders.

Paul Simon – Jewish American singer-songwriter will perform.

From 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm:

Rabbi Julie Schonfeld – Executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Assembly will offer the benediction.

The entire convention schedule can be found here.

– Josh Mendelowitz

2:50 – Bernie finally gave that speech to his delegates and supporters and…endorsed Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, stressing that this was the only way to defeat Donald Trump, whom he called a "bully" and a "demagogue." The audience responded with resounding boos.

– Josh Mendelowitz

1:00 – Apologies for the silence over here, it's just that there isn't much happening. We're still waiting for Bernie's speech to his supporters, which was apparently meant to begin half an hour ago. In the meantime, I'm going to grab myself some lunch, and will be back with you soon to discuss the email leak and the possible implications, and what we can expect from the speeches later on tonight.

12:40 – Missed me? I pulled off a classic magic trick there, made you look one way with the Nitzan Horowitz interview, while I disappeared and re-appeared back at HQ. Seriously though, if you haven't listened to it yet, you should.

12:10 As promised, here is our first interview. Nitzan Horowitz has had a career at the highest levels of Israeli journalism for over 30 years, pausing only to spend two terms as an MK in the Israeli Knesset from 2009-2015. He is the current U.S. Correspondent for the Israeli Channel 2 News broadcast. Click the link below to listen!


12:04 – In case you're wondering where the presumptive nominee is at this time, she's speaking to a meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention. Ever had that dream where you're giving a speech and everyone is just staring at you blankly? According to Wall Street Journal correspondent Ben Kesling, HIllary Clinton is currently living it.

12:00 – The event is winding down now with a few questions from the audience, addressing issues such as the comparisons between Israel and regimes such as Serbia or apartheid South Africa, a comparison which Ambassador Eisen says "doesn't belong." The question of "intersectionality", the idea that all human rights struggles are linked, is an increasing problem for liberal Jewish students, says Congressman Nadler, who are being told that you can't support movements such as Black Lives Matter without being critical of Israel.

11:44 – Congressman Jerry Nadler is now talking about anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. He says Israel is not a perfect state, and that it "carries out obnoxious policies from time to time," but that the obsessive focus on Israel over any other atrocities anywhere else in the world, and he singles out the BDS campaigns as an example of this, is anti-Semitism.

11:35 – Away from the AJC event, The Hill are reporting that Bernie supporters are trying to gather support for an official challenger to Tim Kaine's nomination as Clinton's running mate. Such a challenge is apparently likely to require 300 signatories, with no more than 50 from any single state.

11:23 – Ambassador Eisen is now going on an anti-Semitism tour of Europe, talking about the rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary, Poland, Greece and the UK, and talking about his experiences in Prague. He says he was told that "anti-Semitism wasn't a problem" in the Czech Republic, but that within a few months of taking his job, he had a neo-Nazi organization marching on the embassy.

11:15 – Norm Eisen, former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic, calls anti-Semitism "a virus in the body of Europe" and says his entire role there consisted of pushing back against it.

11:10 – Coming up within the next hour, we'll also have our first interview online here, so if you have to step away, make sure to come back for that, it's a great one!

10:58 – The introduction was given by Mayor Setti Warren of Newton, Massachussetts, one of the original signatories of the AJC's "Mayor's United against Anti-Semitism" initiative, which has been signed by mayors of major cities worldwide including New York, Chicago and London, among many others.

10:53 – We're underway here at the half-full AJC event. Maybe people knew that I'd be covering it and opted to follow the live blog instead.

10:41 – For all those hoping the DNC would be a peaceful island of tranquility and harmony this week, you might want to look away. This is the outgoing Chair of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, being given a tough time this morning at her own Florida delegation event. Schultz has already announced that she will step down at the end of the event, after being accused of deliberately undermining the Sanders campaign.

10:25 – In case you were wondering, I'm sat quietly in the back row of a conference room, waiting for the start of an American Jewish Committee event entitled "Anti-Semitism at Home and Abroad," which I'm sure will provide a light-hearted and gentle introduction to the week. Later today Bernie Sanders is set to speak before a crowd of his supporters, who have already been making their presence felt this weekend around Philadelphia. The DNC email leak over the weekend has upped the pressure on the party, which is trying to present a united front, and Bernie's speech to the convention tonight is going to be one of the critical moments. He has already endorsed HIllary, so there is no expectation of him "going full Ted Cruz" as I believe it's now known, but the Democrats are hoping for a strong and heartfelt endorsement which will bring his supporters over to Hillary.

10:07 – Where are you following today’s events from? Are you sat at your desk at work, frantically refreshing the page to get the latest from the Small Business Owners Council DNC meeting? Have you called in sick and are currently sat in your pyjamas at home, watching reruns of old Michelle Obama speeches (or the Melania Trump cover versions) in anticipation of her taking the stage tonight? Let me know, either by tweeting me @TheSaharZ, or by emailing me to

10:05 – So how did we get here? Take my hand, and let’s go for a stroll down memory lane….

The first candidate into the race, back in the depths of April 2015 and surprising absolutely no one, was Hillary Rodham Clinton. Coming into the race fully equipped with name recognition, fund-raising ability and very high favorable ratings among Democrats, Clinton looked to be a shoe-in for the nomination. Certainly nobody in the Clinton camp was too worried by the entrance into the race a few weeks later of a scruffy-looking, openly socialist, independent-turned-Democrat Senator from Vermont; one Bernie Sanders. On May 30th, Clinton and Sanders were joined in the race by Governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, and a few days later, by the Governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee, who used his campaign-launching speech to, among other things, issue a rallying cry for switching to metric. The final addition to the line-up, in early July, was former Virginia Senator, Jim Webb. Much like the new episode of TV sitcom “Friends,” rumors of current VP Joe Biden lining up a run for the top job were greatly over-hyped and never materialized.

For the Democrats, a field of five heading into Iowa felt too crowded, and two of them suspended their campaigns months before the first caucus. Bernie supporters "feeling the Bern" left no space for Lincoln Chafee, and feeling the Chafe, he dropped out. Webb, who is primarily remembered for using his speaking time in the debates to demand more speaking time in the debates, followed him through the door.

So then there were three, although not for long. Martin O’Malley came in a distant third in Iowa and subsequently suspended his campaign. In contrast, Bernie-fever was picking up pace, and he ran Clinton down to the wire in Iowa. He went one better in New Hampshire a week later, becoming the first Jewish candidate ever to win a major-party primary. Clinton won six of the following seven primaries however, and from that point onwards Sanders was always playing catch-up. A run of seven straight wins for Bernie, including a highly unexpected one in Michigan, re-ignited the fire in some of his supporters, but Hillary’s home state of New York began a five-state run of her own which all-but finished any realistic hopes Bernie had of winning the nomination.

On June 6th, Clinton was declared the first-ever female presumptive nominee of a major party. Just last Friday, Clinton announced that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine was to be her running mate, on which more later. Later in the weekend, as a result of the leak of DNC-related documents (which we will also explain later), Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chair of the Democratic Party, announced that she would step down after the convention. And that’s it, you’re fully caught up.

10:00 – Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Jewish Week live blog of the Democratic National Convention. My name is Sahar, and I will be your guide for this week of sun, speeches and stories from Philadelphia. It promises to be action-packed, so take a deep breath, strap yourselves in, and keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.

This is our first-ever live blog at the Jewish Week, so like Britain the day after Brexit, we're in uncharted waters, with no idea what to expect or how it will end up. Unlike Brexit voters however, I know that I can’t do this alone. That’s where you come in. At any time, get in touch with your reactions to events, speeches, or just questions that I will throw out, and I’ll post them here. If you're on Twitter, you can tweet to me @TheSaharZ. You can also email me your thoughts to

Throughout the DNC we will also periodically upload interviews we’re conducting with guests at the convention. No spoiler alerts here, but we have some really great people lined up, so keep an eye out for those.

It’s that simple. All the stories from around the convention, with tweets, analysis, rumors, interviews, and your participation. Let’s get started.

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