Genesis Prize

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The Genesis Prize
Genesis Prize logo.png
Awarded for Outstanding achievement by individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and whose actions, in addition to their achievements, embody the character of the Jewish people through commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and/or to the State of Israel.
Date 2013
First awarded 2014
Website www.genesisprize.org

The Genesis Prize (Hebrew: פרס בראשית‎) was founded in 2012 as a US$1 million award given annually to Jewish people who have attained recognition and excellence in their fields.[1] The prize was founded with the objective of inspiring and developing a sense of pride and belonging among young unaffiliated Jews throughout the world.[2]

Laureate selection[edit]

Committee members who select awardees have been chosen based on their leadership and support of Jewish causes.[3][4][5]

Laureates[edit]

Genesis Prize laureates[edit]

Year Laureate Country Rationale
2014 Michael R Bloomberg.jpg Michael R. Bloomberg  United States For his "track record of outstanding public service and his role as one of the world’s greatest philanthropists".[6][7]
Bloomberg donated his award to a subsequent competition, the Genesis Generation Challenge, to fund young adults' ideas to solve major problems.[8] Nine projects were selected from submissions: Building Up, eNable 3D Printed Prosthetics, Friends of the Arava Institute, LAVAN, Prize4Life, Sanergy, Sesame, Spark, and the Vera Fellowship Program.[9]
2015 Michael Douglas Deauville 2013.jpg Michael Douglas  United States For "his body of work as an actor and producer; his passionate advocacy as a UN Messenger of Peace, focusing on human rights, gun violence prevention, and nuclear anti-proliferation work; and for his passion for his Jewish heritage".[10][11][12]
Douglas' award led to a program called "Avenues to Jewish Engagement for Intermarried Couples and their families," which dispersed $3.3 million in grants to organizations promoting the engagement of intermarried families in Jewish life.[10] A second set of grants were disbursed in 2016.[13]
2016 Itzhak Perlman.jpg Itzhak Perlman  Israel /
 United States
For his "story of overcoming extraordinary personal challenges to excel as one of the world’s great musicians and humanitarians".
The prize was doubled by a donation from Roman Abramovich to $2 million.[14][15] Perlman re-gifted the funds to fund grant programs to support initiatives for people with disabilities in North America and in Israel, and for arts and culture.[15]
2017 Anish Kapoor 01.jpg Anish Kapoor  United Kingdom As “one of the most influential and innovative artists of his generation”.[16]
Kapoor said he would direct his $1 million award to helping alleviate the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis and focus on expanding the Jewish community's engagement in a global effort to support refugees.[16][17]
2018 Natalie Portman Cannes 2015 5.jpg Natalie Portman  Israel /
 United States
"In recognition of her commitment to social causes and deep connection to her Jewish and Israeli roots."[18]
The prize was doubled by a donation from Morris Kahn to $2 million.[19] Portman said she would donate her award funds to philanthropic programs focused on women's equality, education, economic advancement, health, and political participation.[18][20]

Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award laureates[edit]

Year Laureate Country Rationale
2018 Ruth Bader Ginsburg 2016 portrait.jpg Ruth Bader Ginsburg  United States For her "contribution to the development of a fair and just society that provides equal opportunity for all."
The Genesis Prize Foundation announced that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award. The Award coincides with the fifth anniversary of the Genesis Prize.[21]

Cancellation of 2018 prize ceremony[edit]

On November 7, 2017, the Genesis Prize Foundation announced that actress Natalie Portman was the 2018 Genesis Prize Laureate, and that she would donate the $1 million Genesis Prize Award to philanthropic programs focused on women's equality, education, economic advancement, health, and political participation.[18][20] A month after the announcement, Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn pledged another $1 million in Portman’s honor, bringing the total gift to $2 million.[19] The prize ceremony was scheduled for June 2018, but was canceled in April 2018 after Portman's representatives told the press that "recent events in Israel have been extremely distressing to her and she does not feel comfortable participating in any public events in Israel", and the Foundation decided not to allow for the possibility of the event becoming politicized by her absence.[22][19] Portman later clarified that she was not boycotting Israel, but that she didn't want to "appear as endorsing" prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was set to give a speech at the ceremony.[23]

Gallery[edit]

Itzhak Perlman speaks with leaders of organizations advocating for those with disabilities in February 2017
Genesis Prize CEO Stan Polovets meets with Genesis Prize laureate Michael Bloomberg in December 2015
Michael Bloomberg accepting the Genesis Prize in Jerusalem in June 2014
Michael Douglas accepting the Genesis Prize in Jerusalem in June 2015

References[edit]

  1. ^ Herszenhorn, David M. (26 June 2012). "Russians Establish $1 Million Jewish Prize With Israel". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Elie Wiesel, Yuli Edelstein to help select Genesis Prize winner". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Wayne Firestone Named President of Genesis Prize Foundation". ejewishphilanthropy.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Eli Wiesel se unió al comité de personalidades que elige al ganador del Premio Nobel Judío". www.itongadol.com.ar (in Spanish). 24 March 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  5. ^ "Elie Wiesel appointed to Genesis Prize Committee". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  6. ^ Fitzsimmons, Emma G. (20 October 2013). "Bloomberg Is First to Receive a $1 Million Jewish Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  7. ^ "New York Mayor Bloomberg to be awarded the 'Jewish Nobel Prize'". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Bloomberg to use inaugural Genesis Prize for new fellowship". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Bloomberg's Genesis Prize money goes to work". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 28 April 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  10. ^ a b "Genesis Prize Foundation and Jewish Funders Network Launch Matching Grants Initiative in Honor of Michael Douglas". ejewishphilanthropy.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Jay Leno Makes Comeback in Israel". US News. Archived from the original on 2015-03-10. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  12. ^ Fleishman, Jeffrey. "Michael Douglas to be honored by the Genesis Prize Foundation". latimes.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Jewish Funders Network announces recipients of Matching Grants in honor of Genesis Prize Laureate Michael Douglas". ejewishphilanthropy.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  14. ^ "Helen Mirren to present Genesis Prize and appear at Jerusalem Cinematheque". The Jerusalem Post | JPost.com. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  15. ^ a b "With $1 million Genesis Prize, violinist Itzhak Perlman eyes a more inclusive world". JNS.org. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  16. ^ a b Linde, Steve. "Sir Anish Kapoor wins 2017 Genesis Prize". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  17. ^ Cohen, Rachel. "Genesis prize announces grant to fund breakthrough treatment for Syrian refugees". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  18. ^ a b c "Natalie Portman honored in Israel with 'Jewish Nobel Prize'". USA Today. Associated Press. 7 November 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  19. ^ a b c Maltz, Judy (20 April 2018). "Natalie Portman to Keep $2m Genesis Prize Despite Boycotting Israel Ceremony, Source Says". Haaretz. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  20. ^ a b Sabur, Rozina (20 April 2018). "Natalie Portman pulls out of 'Jewish Nobel' over recent events in Israel". The Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  21. ^ "Jewish group honors Ginsburg for lifetime achievement" Washington Post, November 15, 2017 AP
  22. ^ Dolsten, Josefin (19 April 2018). "Genesis Prize cancels ceremony after 2018 winner Natalie Portman said she won't visit Israel". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  23. ^ "Natalie Portman says not boycotting Israel, but Netanyahu for 'atrocities'". Jerusalem Post. April 21, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2018.

External links[edit]