FROM LEFT: Rev. A. R. Bernard of the Christian Cultural Center; Grammy Award winner Gloria Gaynor; Consul-General of Israel in New York Ido Aharoni; Jewish National Fund executive vice president, Greater New York, Maidelle Goodman Benamy; JCRC executive vice president and CEO Rabbi Michael Miller..
(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK – American singer and Grammy Award winner Gloria Gaynor on Sunday received the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. award, presented annually by the Consulate General of Israel in New York.
The prize, also sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Jewish National Fund, was awarded during a ceremony at Christian Cultural Center’s Brooklyn Campus during the morning worship service.
“Decades after his assassination, the spirit of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. continues to stir individuals and communities to lift themselves up from oppression and to make the eternal values of dignity, emancipation and brotherly love a reality,” said Israel’s consul general in New York, Ambassador Ido Aharoni. “This is as true in America as it is in Israel, which is immensely proud to annually commemorate MLK Day.”
Ambassador Aharoni added that Gaynor is the most appropriate honoree for the award, citing that she has “inspired millions with her music to empower themselves” over the years.
Gaynor told The Jerusalem Post
it was “an unspeakable honor” to be presented the award.
“I fell in love with Israel the first time I went there,” she said. “Now to receive a peace award from a nation that personifies peace in the midst of a raging storm is more humbling than words can express. I am eternally grateful.”
Aharoni also stated that “Gaynor has a special relationship with Israel which she also shares with MLK, whose attachment to Israel and the Jewish people is a symbol of the fraternity, mutual respect and admiration that should unite our communities today.”