WJC to honor Reuven Rivlin, Ken Burns at annual gala

Former President Reuven Rivlin will be honored with the Theodor Herzl Award and filmmaker Ken Burns will be awarded the WJC Teddy Kollek Award for the Advancement of Jewish Culture.

Former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gets into his car at the President's residence in Jerusalem July 7, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Former Israeli President Reuven Rivlin gets into his car at the President's residence in Jerusalem July 7, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

Former President Reuven Rivlin will be honored with the Theodor Herzl Award, the World Jewish Congress' most prestigious award, on Wednesday for "his courageous leadership on behalf of Israel and Jewish communities worldwide," the organization announced.

WJC President Ronald Lauder will present the award, which "honors notable individuals who work to promote Herzl’s ideals through international support for Israel and enhanced understanding of Jewish history, culture, and peoplehood" at the WJC's annual gala, according to the group.

Ken Burns honored for Holocaust documentary

Filmmaker Ken Burns will be awarded the WJC Teddy Kollek Award for the Advancement of Jewish Culture for his PBS series "The US and the Holocaust," which describes antisemitism in the US in the early 20th Century and the country's failure to save European Jews during the Holocaust.

The event, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, will also feature remarks by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The gala coincides with the 84th anniversary of Kristallnacht, when Nazis and Nazi sympathizers committed violent acts against Jews in Germany and Austria, killing 91 people and destroying hundreds of synagogues. The WJC will commemorate Kristallnacht at the event and will display images of four of the synagogues that were destroyed at their original sites in Germany. The group noted that at certain sites, visitors will be able to view the digitally-reconstructed interiors of the synagogues using a virtual reality headset.

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns speaks about his film, The Central Park Five, at the National Press Club in Washington April 12, 2013. (credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns speaks about his film, The Central Park Five, at the National Press Club in Washington April 12, 2013. (credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

A livestream of the event will premiere on Wednesday, November 9 at 6:30 PM EST. It can be accessed here.