(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Jerusalem Unity Prize and Hillel International announced the launch of the Jerusalem Unity Prize for Young Leadership this week, to be awarded to student leaders working on their campuses to advance Jewish unity.
The Prize for Young Leadership will be officially awarded in Jerusalem as part of Unity Day commemorations on June 1, in the presence of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
The award will salute “the spirit of innovation and commitment to bridging gaps within the Jewish world amongst the younger generation” and will be awarded to a candidate or organization who best implements these ideals in an active manner.
“This new award, as part of the Jerusalem Unity Prize, will serve to further the goal of uniting the Jewish people around the globe,” Barkat said. “By recognizing these student leaders, we are empowering young people to take it upon themselves to create a brighter Jewish future.”
The Jerusalem Unity Prize, now in its second year, was launched by Barkat together with Gesher, which works to foster connections between secular and religious Israelis, and the families of Naphtali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yiftach – the three Israeli teens whose kidnapping and murder by Hamas sparked the 2014 Gaza war.
“Unity is an ideal which has spanned thousands of years of Jewish history and this award will ensure that its importance is carried on to the next generation,” the parents of the boys said in a joint statement. “Continuing that legacy is the most appropriate tribute to our sons as a way to both educate and inspire Jews all over the world.”
Eric D. Fingerhut, CEO and president of Hillel International said: “Hillel International is proud to join Jerusalem Unity Prize in launching this award to further Jewish unity on college campuses and beyond. The families of Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naphtali have experienced an indescribable tragedy and are using it to create a blessing for the whole Jewish people. This is an important model and lesson for our next generation.”
The prize winner will be chosen by a committee including Barkat, Fingerhut and Bat-Galim and Ofir Shaer, parents of Gil-Ad.
The winner will receive $5,000 as well as transportation costs to attend the award ceremony in Jerusalem.
“This new award is intended to highlight unity initiatives specifically on campuses which traditionally serve as centers of communal activity,” said Anat Schwarz Weil, Director of the Jerusalem Unity Prize.
“We know that these campuses will foster the Jewish leaders of tomorrow and together with Hillel we believe it is important that Jewish unity be highlighted as an ideal that is integral towards creating a better Jewish future,” she added.