Alessio Jacona is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Alessio Jacona is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It seems the Facebook founder has discovered a new love for religion.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of social media giant Facebook gave his Harvard University commencement speech in the most “Zuckerbergish” way. The speech was littered with his usual reference to not completing his Harvard degree, his parents not willing to recognize his material success, and of course an impassioned speech to students to commit themselves to social justice. However, there was one crucial difference this time around: he recited the Mi Shebeirach prayer. He recited the prayer during the closing of his commencement speech saying that the Jewish prayer gives him strength. This prayer is said by devout Jewish for healing.

Zuckerberg quoted a specific version of the Mi Shebeirach prayer written by Jewish musician Debbie Friedman. The prayer encourages people to face big challenges. The Facebook founder sings it to his daughter when he puts her to bed at night, thinking of the future which awaits her. A number of synagogues have adopted the prayer as a regular display of piety. Friedman’s version asks people to vocalize the names of their loved ones who are ill. They then sing the prayer.

Zuckerberg has grown more religious over the past few years. On Christmas Day in 2016, his Facebook status was “celebrating Christmas.” When questioned about whether he considers himself an atheist, he said although he was an atheist earlier, he now believes religion is extremely important. Zuckerberg stressed the fact he was raised Jewish and went through a period in his life when he questioned all things around him, but later turned to religion. Earlier in 2016, the Facebook founder met Pope Francis to discuss the matter of delivering communication technology to the economically weaker sections all around the world.

Zuckerberg joked about his not-too-smart beginnings and the time he met Priscilla Chen, now his wife, at a party. At the time he was convinced Harvard would expel him, and thus pleaded with Chen to go on a date with him, saying the university will give him the boot after three days. Harvard did not expel him. He also attacked the 2010 movie, The Social Network saying the movie which reputedly chronicled his rise is riddled with inaccuracies. To prove his point, Zuckerberg pointed out FaceMash, the website which the movie claims was a precursor to Facebook, was not one at all.

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