Navigate to News section

Michael Douglas Receives Genesis Prize, Chills With Family in Jerusalem

‘My Jewishness is as deep as my genes’

Jas Chana
June 23, 2015

“I am a Jew,” Michael Douglas announced to an audience, which included Jay Leno, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife, Catherine Zeta Jones, in Israel last week. “Those are four words of pride. My Jewishness is as deep as my genes.”

Last Thursday, Douglas took the stage to receive the 2015 Genesis Prize, the so-called “Jewish Nobel Prize,” that’s given to Jewish leaders who promote and uphold Jewish values. Douglas received $2 million, up from $1 million thanks to an anonymous donor, Variety reported. The actor plans to give the money to the Jewish Funders’ Network and to Hillel International, reported The Times of Israel.

After Douglas’s speech, portions of Broadway musicals were performed, and emcee Leno offered a few Bibi-pleasing quips (“Don’t confuse Obamacare with his Israel policy, which is called ObamaDon’tCare”). Special messages from icons like Barbra Streisand and Danny DeVito were also played in a video presentation.

Netanyahu himself spoke at the ceremony, praising Douglas for his contributions to acting throughout his career. He said: “To borrow a phrase from one of your father’s movies, you two cast a giant shadow over your profession and set a standard for all actors to follow,” reported Variety.

The next day, before Shabbat, Douglas, his wife, and their two children, visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem. They wore light-colored clothing—Douglas and his son wore polos—and sunglasses. Here’s a link to pictures of them there.

Jas Chana is a former intern at Tablet.