UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon will be the Guest of Honor – via pre-recorded video – at a giant Chabad youth event this Sunday. That same day, modern Jerusalem's busiest synagogue, and one of its very oldest, will celebrate its 120th birthday.
Ban, whose second term as UN Chief ends in Dec. '16, will address what has become one of Chabad's most important annual events: its Jewish Youth Shabbaton. His speech, which will wrap up the Shabbaton, will relate to terrorism and anti-Semitic violence around the world. Ban is expected to offer a particular message of solidarity to the 110 Jewish teen delegates from France in light of the recent lethal attacks against French Jews.
Chabad's Jewish Youth Shabbaton was first held seven years ago with the participation of fewer than 100 youths. A record number of 1500 Jewish teens from 10 countries will attend the upcoming Shabbaton, to be held in Brooklyn, New York.
The teens, representing Brazil, Hong Kong, France, England, Australia, Israel, Canada, Germany, Singapore and the US, will be celebrated for their work promoting Jewish values in their communities through their local CTeen chapters.
Thousands of miles to the east, on the same day, one of modern Jerusalem's oldest synagogues will mark its 120th birthday: the Musayof Synagogue in the Bucharim Quarter. Known as the "Sephardi Shtieblach," it is said to host well over 3,000 worshipers each day. Kollel Keter Shlomo operates there, and Torah classes are delivered throughout the day.
Synagogue tradition has it that in the year 1895, Rabbi Shlomo Musayof took a stone from the Western Wall, as well as pails of water from the ancient Shiloach Spring in Ir David (the City of David), and dragged them outside the city walls to start the construction of what became the Musayof Center of Torah study and Prayer.
The historic birthday event will be held in Jerusalem's Talpiyot neighborhood, and Israel's leading Sephardic rabbis will be in attendance. These include Rishon LeTzion Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef, Jerusalem's Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar, and more.
(The synagogues in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood, built in 1890, apparently share the record for oldest synagogues in modern Jerusalem.)