New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will receive the first "Jewish Nobel Prize," to be awarded by the Genesis Philanthropy Group. The group will award its one million dollar Genesis Prize to Bloomberg at a ceremony in May, it said.
The prize is awarded annually in recognition of "exceptional human beings who, through their outstanding achievement, come to represent a fundamental value of the Jewish people – a commitment to the betterment of mankind," the Group said.
The Genesis Philanthropy Group, established by Russian Jewish billionaires Stan Polovets and Alex Knaster, aims to "develop and enhance a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide, with a particular emphasis on the former Soviet Union, North America, and Israel, where up to three million Russian-speaking Jews reside," the group said.
Commenting on the award, Bloomberg said that he was "deeply honored to be the first recipient of the Genesis Prize. Many years ago, my parents instilled in me Jewish values and ethics that I have carried with me throughout my life, and which have guided every aspect of my work in business, government, and philanthropy. The Genesis Prize embraces and promotes those same values and ethics---a common thread among the Jewish people worldwide that has helped move humankind forward for centuries."
The winner was selected by members of two high-level committees, which included Nobel Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel; Justice and President emeritus of the Supreme Court of Israel, Meir Shamgar; Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel (retired) Tova Strasberg-Cohen; and the Chief Rabbi Emeritus of the UK, Lord Jonathan Sacks. The Committee members were advised by a prominent Advisory Board, consisting of both Jewish and non-Jewish members that included several current and former presidents of leading global universities, heads of major foundations, an advisor to the Nobel Prize, and a former Minister of Justice of Canada.
"Mayor Bloomberg's selection as the first Genesis Prize Laureate reflects his track record of outstanding public service and his role as one of the world's greatest philanthropists," said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein. "As a visionary entrepreneur, he has transformed the way the world conducts business and created a more open and better informed world. Mayor Bloomberg has successfully advanced practical solutions to key global issues that range from education and public health to the environment and global innovation. He has also been outspoken in his support of Israel and exhibits a great sense of pride in his Jewish identity and heritage."