Barbra Streisand to receive ‘Jewish Nobel’ award

The Genesis Foundation is honoring the famed singer, actress, director and activist in celebration of its 10th anniversary.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Legendary Jewish performer Barbra Streisand will receive a special Genesis Prize in October in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the foundation behind what has been dubbed the “Jewish Nobel,” its founder and chairman announced on Tuesday.

Stan Polovets called the 81-year-old Streisand “one of the world’s most beloved and admired performers” in his statement to the press.

This was not the only reason the Genesis Foundation was honoring her, however. The criteria for the annual $1 million award is that the “individuals who have attained international renown in their chosen professional fields are proud of their Jewish heritage, care about the future of the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and inspire young people to make the world a better place,” as their website states.

Streisand hits all those marks, Polovets said.

“In addition to delighting audiences all over the world for the past six decades with her amazing talents, Barbra has dedicated her time, resources, and passion to numerous important causes, speaking out whenever and wherever she saw injustice. Her sense of responsibility to heal the world grows out of her Jewish values and her Jewish identity, which Barbra has displayed proudly since the very beginning of her extraordinary career.”

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The former singer-actress-director-activist had received tens of thousands of votes over the years for the prize, with anyone who feels a connection to the Jewish world being able to participate in nominations and voting, according to the Foundation’s rules.

Streisand said she was “delighted” by the news.

“I am delighted to be honored by the special 10th-anniversary Genesis Prize and to work with The Genesis Prize Foundation to support organizations that seek to better society and our shared humanity,” she said.

“I am very proud of my Jewish heritage and have always been moved by the Jewish tradition of tikkun olam to repair the world,” she added. “I hope to join and inspire others in their own commitment to build a better world.”

Former New York mayor and Genesis Prize winner Michael Bloomberg was effusive in his praise for the newest honoree.

“Barbra Streisand’s passionate commitment to tikkun olam makes her an incredibly deserving recipient of the Genesis Prize,” he said.

“From her groundbreaking leadership on women’s health, to her longstanding support for stronger gun safety laws, to her invaluable partnership revitalizing Lower Manhattan through the soon-to-open Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center, Barbra has made an enormous impact on her native New York and far beyond. She has used her voice – on and off the stage and screen – to inspire generations, and I’m glad to join her fans worldwide in congratulating her.”

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Laureates traditionally give away their prize money. Streisand has requested that the Foundation distribute her winnings to nonprofit organizations that protect the environment and promote women’s health – two issues she has been involved with for years – as well as those that battle against disinformation in the media and help the people of Ukraine.

The Foundation’s regular prize will also be divided among several organizations and activists that have been supplying humanitarian aid in Ukraine ever since Russia invaded the country 14 months ago.

In what is perhaps a nod to Streisand’s physical condition, the prize will be given to her in a ceremony in her hometown of Los Angeles instead of its usual venue, Israel. While providing no details, the foundation’s spokesperson said it was “a joint decision” by both parties, and “has nothing to do with the situation in Israel right now.”

Streisand has not performed or traveled abroad in years. She was last in Israel a decade ago, when she sang in a star-studded event in honor of then-President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday and gave two additional concerts.