It’s been announced that actor and philanthropist Michael Douglas will be receiving a $1 million prize from the Genesis Philanthropy Group. Douglas will be the second recipient of their annual award honoring “the richness and diversity of Jewish culture”. The award was launched last year, with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg getting the prize. The Oscar-winning actor will be receiving the award in June at a ceremony to be held in Jerusalem. The award will be presented by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
The prize is given to individuals “with a commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish community and the state of Israel”. Stan Polovets, chairman of the Genesis Group, released a statement saying that Douglas was awarded “both for his professional achievements and for his passion for his Jewish heritage and the Jewish state“. The selection of Douglas is reportedly an attempt for the group to gain supporters from Hollywood after many in the community didn’t back Israel with its war against the Palestinian group, Hamas.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) January 15, 2015
Polovets also said, “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.” Michael is the son of actor Kirk Douglas, who reaffirmed his faith when he turned 83 years old. Michael’s wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, is not Jewish. However, during a recent trip to Jerusalem to celebrate their son’s bar mitzvah, she expressed her desire to convert to Judaism.
Douglas put out a press-release on Thursday, January 15. In the statement, he says, “I share this award with my family, who encouraged me in my exploration of the Jewish faith. 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.”
According to reports, Douglas will be donating the prize money to groups that promote diversity and inclusiveness in Jerusalem.
— The Genesis Prize (@TheGenesisPrize) January 15, 2015