Hollywood actor Michael Douglas is the winner of the second annual Genesis Prize Foundation award for 2015, the foundation announced Thursday. The $1 million prize is granted to celebrate the richness and diversity of contemporary Jewish culture and to strengthen the global Jewish community. Douglas will receive the award, popularly known as the 'Jewish Nobel' prize on June 18 in Jerusalem.
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“I share this award with my family, who encouraged me in my exploration of the Jewish faith,” Douglas reacted to the news. “I hope these teachings and values will be part of the legacy in the world that I leave for my children and those who follow.”
In addition to his cinematic activity, Douglas served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, focusing on the promotion of human rights and disarmament, and the prevention of nuclear proliferation.
Douglas, who was born in 1944 to actor Kirk Douglas, is of Jewish descent. In June 2014 he came with his wife to Israel to celebrate their son’s bar mitzvah at the Western Wall. During his 50-year career he has won two Oscars, one in 1976 as the producer of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and the second in 1988 for his role in the film “Wall Street.” Other films in which he appeared include “Fatal Attraction” (1987), “Basic Instinct” (1992), “Falling Down” (1993), “The Game” (1997), “Traffic” (2000) and “Behind the Candelabra” (2013).
The Genesis Prize Foundation awards the prize in cooperation with the Prime Minister’s Office and the office of the Jewish Agency chairperson. It is designed to recognize outstanding individuals who have achieved global recognition in their fields, and whose activities embody commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and the State of Israel.
The prize was awarded for the first time last year, to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Winners can use the prize money to support an initiative of their choice that promotes the objective of inspiring the next generation of Jews worldwide to connect to the values and legacy of their people and be proud of their Jewish identity.
“The Genesis Prize Foundation is proud to honor Michael Douglas, both for his professional achievements and for his passion for his Jewish heritage and the Jewish state,” said the foundation’s CEO Stan Polovets. “The Douglas family’s experience of connecting with its heritage and embracing it on their own terms embodies an inclusive approach for Jews of diverse backgrounds. This is particularly important today, when the question of what it means to be Jewish has become more pressing than ever.”