In celebration of the European Day of Jewish Culture, the World Jewish Congress hosted some 40 UN ambassadors and diplomats at the Great Synagogue of Geneva on Sunday September 4. Visitors included Federico Villegas, the Argentinian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, who is currently serving as president of the UN Human Rights Council.
The group heard from the secretary-general of the Jewish Community of Geneva, Mr. Elias Frija, about the history of the community, its contemporary activities , and the basic principles of Judaism. The participants also had the opportunity to see and learn about the Torah scroll and other Jewish artifacts.
“It is important to welcome the UN diplomatic community to the synagogue and give them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Jewish traditions and ask questions,” said Leon Saltiel, the World Jewish Congress representative in Geneva.
The event concluded with a short concert by Ukrainian violinist Alla Ternikova, of the Geneva Conservatory, who played Jewish-themed songs.
In honor of the upcoming Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, participants left with a small jar of honey to symbolize wishes for a sweet, happy, and healthy new year.