The Genesis Prize Foundation (GPF) on Wednesday released a short list of nominees for its 2021 prize, and in a major change from the previous seven years when winners were picked in a discreet process, Jews across the world will be able to vote for next year’s winner.
The seven nominees are:
- Elana Kagan – United States Supreme Court Justice (US).
- Sacha Baron Cohen – Actor, producer, director, and a vocal critic of social media (UK).
- Barbra Streisand – Singer and actress (US).
- Lord Jonathan Sacks – Theologian, author, broadcaster and former UK Chief Rabbi (UK).
- Gal Gadot – Actress, producer, and advocate for the empowerment of young women (Israel).
- Marc Benioff – Founder of Salesforce, owner of Time Magazine and mega-philanthropist (US).
- Steven Spielberg – Film director, producer, and screenwriter (US).
The annual Genesis Prize, worth $1 million, honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values.
To date, all Genesis Prize laureates have donated their award to philanthropic causes, such as helping improve the lives of people with special needs, advancing equality for women, and supporting refugees.
“The Genesis Prize is evolving from an elite committee-driven process to a more inclusive approach that seeks to engage the entire Jewish world,” said Stan Polovets, the co-founder and chairman of the GPF. He added that if the public nominations experiment proves a success, it will be adopted permanently.
Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Isaac Herzog, who heads the Genesis Prize selection committee, said: “I thank the 45,000 people who showed that they care deeply about the Jewish future and the bond between the State of Israel and the Diaspora by taking the time to nominate individuals who could be role models for the next generation of Jews.”
The 2021 laureate will be announced early next year, along with the philanthropic initiative to which the $1 million prize and any additional matching funds will be directed.Online voting begins on Thursday here.