Wiesel joins judging panel for ‘Jewish Nobel’


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Planned $1 million prize to go to Jewish professional who serves as role model for community.

Peace prize laureate Elie Wiesel joined the judging panel for a $1 million award that has been called the "Jewish Nobel," organizers announced Sunday.

The Genesis Prize is planned to be given annually to a professional who acts as a role model to Jews in their community. The first prize will be awarded in 2014.

In joining the panel Wiesel, will sit alongside other Jewish leaders in the selection and prize committees for the prize, such as outgoing British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and American Council for World Jewry CEO Jack Rosen.

Wiesel won the Nobel Prize in 1986 for his human rights activism and writing, which includes haunting memoirs from the Holocaust.

The Genesis Prize is a joint project of the Prime Minister's Office, the Jewish Agency and the Genesis Philanthropy Group. The award aims to strengthen "the connection of Jewish people around the world to the cultural and spiritual values that unite them," according to a statement by the Genesis Prize Foundation.

According to The New York Times, the foundation was set up in 2012 by an endowment from a troika of Russian billionaires to highlight Jewish identity in the former Soviet Union and help cement Israeli-Russian ties.