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E. Shuker: Address to the International Leadership Conference

Address to the UPF International Leadership Conference
Seoul, Korea, February 6-10, 2011

I am a religious Jew who was born and grew up in an Arab country, Iraq. So did my ancestors for 2,600 years. We shared common values and respect principally awe and devotion to the Almighty God. Our prayers may have been recited in different languages but the meaning in our hearts and mind was just the same.

Recent history of conflict in the Middle East between our people will disappear once we let God back into our hearts. I am happy to dedicate the rest of my life to achieve this goal.

Many years ago, I had a life-changing moment. I was living the vain life of a Western young man, replete with money, sports cars and clubbing but In a moment of truth I felt the presence of the Almighty God not as an intellectual concept but a living, loving, caring God who responded to my private prayer.

I was fortunate to grab the moment and held him in my heart eternally.

But then like other mortals, I have moments of doubt and questioning when I need the daily strength I derive from the rituals of my faith and the support of the dedicated men of God who administer them.

I pray that they will have the wisdom and divine spirit of the leader of the UPF The reverend Moon who is showing humanity how to transcend our individual religions and how to bring peace and goodness to this world by focusing on each individual and guiding him to build a God centered family built on love and peace as its foundation not just for them but for their tribe, community and society. The path to changing the world starts with changing ourselves and it starts right NOW. His achievement in inspiring the United nations to vote for its recent resolution calling for a World Interfaith Harmony Week with God at its center is no short of a miracle.

One of the greatest rabbis of the 20th century, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, talks about two different types of covenants that bind societies: a covenant of fate and a covenant of faith.

People are bound in the covenant of fate when they suffer together and when they face a common enemy. When they share tears and fears. They bond together for comfort and mutual protection. That is a covenant of fate. Sometimes societies are made to believe they are under siege by people seeking power and influence over them.

A covenant of faith is quite different. It is made by people who share dreams, aspirations, and ideals. They don't need a common enemy, because they have a common hope. They come together to create and build. They are defined not by an outside entity but by what they are ready to create together. This is a covenant of faith. Rev. Moon and his family have inspired a multitude through UPF on how to bond in a covenant of faith.

I would like to conclude with the words of the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, Lord Jonathan Sacks, whose words always flow into my heart and shape my thinking:

"Let us walk together towards the mountain of the Lord,
Side-by-side, Hand in hand,
bound by a covenant of faith that turns strangers into friends.
In an age of fear, let us be agents of hope.
Together let us be a blessing to the world."