(JTA) — The prize dubbed the “Jewish Nobel” will be presented to Barbra Streisand later this year, in a throwback to her tradition of honoring Jewish celebrities for lifetime achievement.
The iconic actress and singer receives the Genesis Prize, awarded since 2013, in recognition of her contributions to several fields, including the arts and philanthropy.
The prize was endowed by a group of Russian Jewish billionaires, three of whom resigned from the board of a related foundation, the Genesis Philanthropy Group, after facing Western sanctions last year for their ties to Vladimir Putin after his invasion of Ukraine. The most recent Genesis Prize, awarded earlier this year, went to Jewish activists and nonprofits in Ukraine — the first time the prize was not awarded to a single individual.
Now the award foundation is signaling a return to normal by selecting 81-year-old Streisand, who has served as a beacon of pride for generations of women and men who have seen themselves reflected in his brash, Brooklyn-raised Jewish persona and shameless. She has sold over 100 million records; had more Top 40 albums than any other female artist; and is one of 18 people to have won an EGOT – an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.
The purpose of the award is to stimulate Jewish giving by raising awareness of special needs. Streisand will donate his $1 million prize to four groups aimed at protecting the environment, promoting women’s health, combating misinformation in the media and helping the people of Ukraine, according to a press release from the Genesis Prize Foundation.
“I am thrilled to be honored with the Genesis 10th Anniversary Special Prize and to work with the Genesis Prize Foundation to support organizations that seek to better society and our common humanity,” Streisand said in a statement. “I am very proud of my Jewish heritage and have always been moved by the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam, to fix the world. I hope to join and inspire others in their own commitment to building a better world.
The ceremony honoring Streisand, which will be held for the first time in Los Angeles, marks another change for the award.
Prior to this year, the prize was awarded at a ceremony in Israel. In the past, it has been presented in cooperation with the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, and in 2018, actress Natalie Portman, that year’s winner, caused controversy by refusing to attend the ceremony in protest against “recent events” in Israel. The partnership with the Prime Minister ended in 2020.
The award aims to honor “extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievements, their contribution to humanity and their commitment to Jewish values,” according to the press release, and has usually been awarded to a celebrity who has publicly worn their identity. Jewish. Many of its winners have been involved in the arts – including actors Michael Douglas and Portman; sculptor Anish Kapoor; violinist Itzhak Perlman; and, in 2021, filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
“Her sense of responsibility to heal the world stems from her Jewish values and Jewish identity, which Barbra has proudly displayed since the very beginning of her extraordinary career,” Genesis Prize Foundation founder Stan Polovets said in a statement. press release about Streisand. “Barbra’s innovative philanthropy has had a significant impact in many areas, including health, the environment and gender equality.”
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