2018 ‘Jewish Nobel Prize’ awarded to actress Natalie Portman

The Genesis Prize, which promotes the Jewish value of social activism, is being given this year to acclaimed actress Natalie Portman.

By: World Israel News Staff

The Genesis Prize Foundation announced Tuesday that Jewish actress Natalie Portman has been named the 2018 Genesis Prize Laureate.

The annual $1 million award honors “extraordinary individuals who serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews through their outstanding professional achievement, commitment to Jewish values and to the Jewish people.”

Portman, an Israeli-born actress and director, is a winner of multiple prestigious awards, including an Academy Award (Oscar), two Golden Globe Awards, the British Academy of Film and Television Award, as well as other industry honors.

Her strong connection to Israel was expressed through her 2015 directorial debut, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” a Hebrew-language feature made in Israel and based on the novel by an Israeli writer Amos Oz. Portman directed the picture and played a leading role in it.

Natalie Portman is noted for her social activism in such areas as gender equality, combating poverty, microfinance, and animal rights.

Portman’s “charismatic on-screen presence has touched the hearts of millions. Her talent, her commitment to social causes and her deep connection to her Jewish and Israeli roots are greatly admired. She exemplifies the core traits of the Jewish character and values of the Jewish people – persistence and hard work, pursuit of excellence, intellectual curiosity, and a heartfelt desire to contribute to making the world a better place,” said Stan Polovets, co-founder and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation. “Without a doubt, she is a role model for millions of young Jews around the world.”

In keeping with the tradition established by the previous Genesis Prize Laureates, $1 million in award money will be granted to philanthropic programs in honor of Natalie Portman. The programs will focus on advancing women’s equality in all aspects of human endeavor. In particular, funds will be used for grants to organizations involved in promoting women’s educational opportunities, economic advancement, health and safety, and full participation in policy formulation and political activity.

A significant portion of the funds will be channeled to programs advancing women’s equality in Israel.

Proud of Her Israeli Roots and Jewish Heritage

Portman stated she is “deeply touched and humbled by this honor. I am proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage; they are crucial parts of who I am. It is such a privilege to be counted among the outstanding Laureates whom I admire so much. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Genesis Prize Foundation, and look forward to using the global platform it provides to make a difference in the lives of women in Israel and beyond.”

Natalie Portman becomes the fifth winner of the annual $1 million Genesis Prize. Previous Laureates of the Award, dubbed “the Jewish Nobel” by Time Magazine, are former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (2014), actor and peace activist Michael Douglas (2015), virtuoso violinist and advocate for people with disabilities Itzhak Perlman (2016) and prominent sculptor and activist for the rights of refugees Sir Anish Kapoor (2017).

Natalie Portman will be honored at the Genesis Prize Ceremony in Jerusalem in June 2018.