Michael Douglas, the actor who last year suffered a hora-related injury at his son’s bar mitzvah then bravely continued the coming-of-age celebrations with a trip to Israel, has been awarded the second-ever $1 million Genesis Prize for his commitment to Judaism and the State of Israel.
“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,” Douglas, who is also a U.N. Messenger of Peace, said in a statement.
The annual award honors an accomplished individual who is an inspiration to others in their engagement with the Jewish community or Israel. Last year’s Genesis Prize went to billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who said he didn’t need the money and instead funded the Genesis Generation Challenge, which will give $100,000 grants to 10 groups of enterprising young Jews.
Stan Polovets, co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation, 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. This is particularly important today, when the question of what it means to be Jewish has become more pressing than ever.”
Douglas said he’ll use the $1 million to promote “activities designed to raise awareness of inclusiveness and diversity in Judaism.”
Here’s Douglas and son Dylan saying “Shalom” from the City of David in Jerusalem last May.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.