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June 27, 2012 6:02 pm

Jewish Nobel Prize Established Over Years of Development

avatar by Arik Elman

Natan Sharansky (left) with Senator Joseph Lieberman. Photo:

The launch of the Genesis Prize was announced recently by the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel, the Genesis Philanthropy Group,  as well as the Jewish Agency for Israel, the largest non-government Jewish organization in the world.  It will be awarded to individuals who have been internationally recognized for outstanding achievements in various professional fields, science and art, as well as feel a connection to the Jewish people and values.   Prize recipients will be selected via a multi-step process from a pool of candidates nominated by independent experts, with Natan Sharansky, Jewish Agency Chairman, at the head of the Nominations Committee.  The Committee will include retired Supreme Court judges, leaders of Jewish communities and representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Genesis Fund.

The winner will be awarded US$1,000,000 which, along with operating costs, is being endowed by the Genesis Philanthropy Group.  The prize will be presented annually by the Prime Minister of Israel at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

At the launch ceremony Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, said: “It is unacceptable that in a world where borders between countries are rapidly disappearing that more and more disagreements are arising between different societies and within the Jewish world. The Genesis Prize will be an important symbol to help unify the Jewish people around their eternal values.” By honoring Jews who have not only made significant contributions to the world, but also have a strong sense of Jewish history, traditions, and shared values, the Genesis Prize aims to celebrate the relevance of Judaism to the fulfillment of human potential and building a better world, in the hope that this will serve as an example future generations will emulate.

“It took more than three years to develop the design of the Prize in partnership with Natan Sharansky, the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Prime Minister staff. We wanted to make sure that criteria for awarding the Prize, and a nomination and selection processes would be rigorous, efficient and transparent”, said Stan Polovets, CEO of Genesis Philanthropy Group.

The Genesis Philanthropy Group was established in 2007 with the objective of developing and enhancing a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide, with a particular emphasis on the former Soviet Union, North America, and Israel.   Its donors additionally fund other non-profit initiatives, ranging from supporting children with life-threatening diseases to assisting WWII veterans, as well as many others.

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