Jay Leno to host $1 million award ceremony in Jerusalem


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Former N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg to get award on May 22; Bloomberg, a billionaire, says he will give the money to charity.

Comedian Jay Leno, who hosted "The Tonight Show" for 21 years, will emcee the first Genesis Prize award ceremony in Jerusalem, during which former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will receive the $1 million award, it was announced today. (Bloomberg, a muitibillionaire, has said he will give the money to charity.)

The event will take place at the Jerusalem Theater on May 22, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu giving out the prize.
Leno said, "It is a great honor to be invited to host this prestigious event. I am very excited, this will be my first visit to Israel and I can't wait to be a part of the Genesis Prize ceremony."

Leno, 64, who signed off "The Tonight Show" on February 6, making way for Jimmy Fallon, will not be the only comedian on the bill; Israel's Hannah Laszlo will also perform, along with singer Rita and classical musicians and dancers. In the audience will be 400 "global influencers," according to Stan Polovets, board chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation.

The prize is funded by the Genesis Philanthropy Group. According to the foundation, the award is a "symbol of a movement to honor and enhance Jewish identity around the world and spark a far reaching and inclusive conversation about Jewish values, culture and heritage, especially among young people."