April 2, 2017 – The results of the Israeli part of the “Breaking Barriers” competition for grants from the prize fund of 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate Itzhak Perlman were announced today at the festive gathering in the Prime Minister’s Office, hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu and in the presence of Mr. Perlman and his wife Toby, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Genesis Prize Foundation Stan Polovets, CEO of “Matan – United Way” Ahuva Yanai, members of Genesis Prize Committees and representatives of winning organizations.
Perlman announced last September that his prize money would be directed to support local organizations and projects that promote culture and assist Israelis with disabilities, under the management of Matan – United Way.
Of the NIS 3.2m., NIS 940,000 was invested in the special Perlman-Genesis Strings Project, a five-year Tel Aviv Conservatory program for outstanding young string musicians. In addition, NIS 188,000 was awarded to the House of Wheels (Beit Hagalgalim) organization and NIS 94,000 to the Chicago Community Center in Lod.
The bulk of the sum, NIS 2m., was awarded to 14 projects that will bring classical art to people with disabilities. Among the grantees are the Israel Museum, Beit Issie Shapiro, the Association of Community Centers, the Rimon Music School, the Nalaga'at Theater, the Orna Porat Theater and more.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The initiative of Yitzhak Perlman and the Genesis Prize gives hope and inspiration to future generations of artists and social activists and demonstrates the universal importance of the values of the Jewish people."
Addressing the winners, 2016 Genesis Prize Laureate Itzhak Perlman said: "People with special needs are, first of all, human beings and citizens, and they deserve full and equal rights. If we insist on this, if we will give them an opportunity to expand their horizons, if we provide full accessibility, if we give them tools to create and to contribute to society, we will advance towards the vision of Israel we all want to see and bequeath to our children."
Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, Chairman of the Selection Committee of the Genesis Prize, said: "Itzhak Perlman gave so many Israeli organizations the opportunity to help people with disabilities connect to culture. Itzhak's example and leadership reinforce the message of Genesis Prize that Jewish identity is more relevant today than ever."
Ahuva Yanai, CEO of Matan-United Way said: "I thank the Genesis Prize Foundation and Itzhak Perlman for entrusting Matan with the selection of projects in accordance with the vision that connects people with disabilities to classical arts. We feel that we have a special right and responsibility to accompany leading organizations that create change for the advancement of Israeli society as a whole and especially those in need of special support. "
Sana Britavsky, Deputy CEO of the Genesis Prize Foundation said: "The uniqueness of Yitzhak Perlman's initiative is that the selected projects aim to raise as high as possible the standards of cultural content provided to the disabled in Israel. These are courageous initiatives that aspire to use high art as a tool to expose the full spiritual potential of those with disabilities - for their benefit and for the benefit of all of Israeli society. Encouraging excellence and repairing the world are integral parts of the vision of the Genesis Prize."
The full list of “Breaking Barriers” grantee organizations in Israel includes: The Israel Museum, Beit Issie Shapiro, The Israel Association of Community Centers, Rimon Music School, Nalaga'at Theater, Jerusalem Conservatory, Jordan River Village, Milbat, Gesher Film Foundation, Vertigo Dance Company, ALEH Negev-Nahalat Eran, the Central Library for the Blind, the Orna Porat Theater and Musethica.
About the Genesis Prize:
The Genesis Prize honors individuals who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and who inspire others through their dedication to the Jewish community and Jewish values. The Prize, in the amount of $1 million, is endowed by the Genesis Prize Foundation and awarded annually since 2014.
The Genesis Prize: http://www.genesisprize.org/
About Matan – United Way:
MATAN – Investing In The Community, United Way Israel, is a leader in the creation of a caring and responsible society in Israel. By initiating and developing partnerships, which bring together the business sector (local and international companies), the social sector (community organizations), the public sector (national and local offices) and thousands of donors and volunteers, MATAN creates new resources for diverse social needs throughout Israel.