Noahide Conference 2017
9 20 2017
Welcome to the Summit Conference. Today we will be addressing the The Role of Religious leaders for Building Peaceful and Inclusive Societies and Combating Violent Extremism with Universal Noahide – UN
First, I want to thank our my fellow speakers for their outstanding leadership in this historic event: Mr Mark Donfiled and ICD Academy for Cultural Diplomacy
I also wish to thank all of you the future Ambassadors, Delegates, and distinguished guests who have taken the time out of their busy schedule to join us for this important program.
My name is Rabbi Yakov David Cohen and I serve as a Rabbi and an ECOSOC NGO Special Envoy to the UN for The Institute of Noahide Code. In my capacity as Special Envoy for the INC, my responsibilities include human rights issues in the Middle East including defending the rights of Jewish, Christian and Muslim Men, women and children.
I like to open with a story that took place with the former New York Mayor David Dinkins and the Chabad Rebbe Menachem Schneerson in 1991.. …Mayor Dinkins went, both as the Mayor and as the representative of the black community to the Rebbe in Brooklyn, New York, and said, “We pray for the peace of our two communities”. The Rebbe replied, “It is one community, under one G-d, under one administration.”
One people One World under G-D
Some people wonder, can’t we just get along – but everything in life that will function – and certainly function long-term must have both a foundation and a logical premise.
The only way societites – as emperically through thousands of years of human civilization proves – live together, is, if there is a higher ideal.
What can possibly be the higher ideal which unites all of mankind?
What we all have in common is three things – 1. Each and every one of us is a creation of our heavenly father G-D 2. Each and every one of us (including all species, plants, even minerals) have a cosmic goal in the tapestry and symphony that produces the beauty and melody called humanity – 3. The Creator has specifically taught the Jewish people, passed down from Moses, a universal Noahide ethical code and by us all humbly accepting, we introduce this higher ideal.
I read a personal ad in the paper: Homeless! (JOKE)
Seeking home, will pay rent, utilities, looking to make the world a better place, will provide good company – G-D.
Each and every one of us makes a home for G-d by keeping the Universal Noahide code!
The Universal Noahide Code is one for peace.. Jewish Sages explain that a wonder of G-d’s creation is that, although the face of every human being is essentially the same, no two people are identical. As facial features differ, so too, the workings of no two minds are alike. Since differences are an inherent dimension of G-d’s Creation, no society should try to stifle these differences. They should not only be tolerated, but encouraged as a springboard for growth. Humankind is created in the Divine Image. Given that this House is one of peace, we must within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, attempt to promote these values not only globally, but specially, immediately in our surroundings.
The Torah message is Universal. Torah was ultimately given for peace. Peace between man and G-d, and peace between man and man. The first Five Commandments are the relationship between man and G-d, whereas the last five deal with man’s relation to his fellow human being. These values are eternal, and are encompassed in the Universal Noahide Code. The truth of the matter is that before there was any formal religion there was only Noah, a man who withstood the tides/norms of his day and went against all of the trends of his time, for he considered these to be unethical, indecent Noah took it upon himself to serve and obey the One G-d. His example was as valid today as it was then. It is critical for all of us, that we, the representatives of many different people affirm and commit publicly to the basic premise, that people respect the very core fabric of life given by the Creator. These are contained within the Seven Universal Codes of Noah, a way of life that expresses and makes the human being commit, to honoring first of all, the Creator, and ultimately, His Creation.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals envision zero hunger, no poverty, decent work and economic growth. May I propose that in the Universal Noahide Codes, the belief in one G-d, promotes equal treatment for all human beings. Humankind’s unity reflects G-d’s indivisibility. The respect for human life envisioned in the Noahide Codes, also promotes respect that no human being is to be deprived of food as we are seeing regrettably in Syria, in North Korea, as a means of social control, of beating people into deprivation as a means of subjugation. The respect for decent work and economic growth requires us to take into account, the right of all human beings to be remunerated properly for their work that local practices be taken into account by any multinational wishing to invest in a particular area. It is a way of balancing profit with the needs and culture and livelihoods of those either employed or impacted by business.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals also promote partnering for all the goals we wish for humanity, as well as the promotion of peace, justice and strong institutions.
May I further propose, that the Universal Noahide Codes also envision this. There is no greater partnership than the nucleus of society which is the family, the respect for human life within the family, the respect for the most vulnerable, which are the young, the weak and the infirm and the old. And although not politically popular, may I suggest that the respect for the unborn is also a component of the first partnering of humans. A future partner of society should be respected. Everyone here present today, is here, because your right to be born was respected. May I ultimately suggest as well, is that the Universal Noahide Codes also strengthen the notion of promoting justice, because in its core, the concept of the creation of a judicial system is paramount. As is often said, there is no peace, without justice.
We have all and are all created by G-d – in fact in this sense we have something in common not only with all humans, but also with animals, vegetation and even rocks and non-living creations, with the Universe itself. We need a vigorous proactive campaign which is what I am proud my organization Institute of Noahide Code stands for, in which all people, all people, are elevated through the deep appreciation that their lives are a choice – God chose them, as He loves to see each human being bring light, love, unity and harmony to his or her surroundings, to the world at large. When we all realize we are His ambassadors, each and everyone of us, not only do we do good, but this gives us an inner feeling of worth and as we add respect to ourselves, love to the core, to reflect this to the rest of the world, by extending that to each and every person.
For us to have UNITY we need ONE AND ONLY G-D and for G-d to have UNITY HE needs us!
We had a giant in the United States, may his memory be a blessing.
Dr. Martin Luther King queried those around him: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
The Rebbe Menachem Schneerson also taught us that a “Little light can dispel a lot of darkness”. Not far from this concept, and in terms of love, which is the underlying theme that humanity craves for, Dr. King added: Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”.
But what is love based on? Love, as Jewish mysticism teaches us, is realizing that we are but one heart in many bodies, one universal mission, affirming that each one of us has been made in the image of our Maker, challenged to rise above instinctual selfish instincts and invite a Divine purpose, mission and meaning in our life. We can only achieve this objective, in the manner of respect, of establishing court systems, by creating partnerships that include the basic core of society which is the family unit, the respect for human life, through food, equitable respect for the rights, needs of others. We include in this, the environment, as well as our fellow animal creatures, His entire Creation.
Practically, by each of us dedicating our lives individually to this recognition that “I am not a biological being, born one day, to die another”, rather “I am an ambassador of our Creator to add in the goodness and kindness of this world, I take upon myself the responsibility to share this message – the message of truth, the message of empathy, the message of love”. Then and only then, can truly the vision of the U.N. be realized and speedily fulfilled, as the great prophet Isaiah expressed ‘that they will beat their swords into plowshares and no nation will make war ever again’.
Sweet New Year!!!
IDC – Chabad UES NY NY USA on 9 20, 2017 RabbiCohen@Noahide.org