The Genesis Prize Foundation has announced the completion of the international voting campaign for the 2021 Genesis Prize and has released selected data about the campaign.
Over the course of two-and-a-half months, Jews around the world were invited to vote online for one of the seven Genesis Prize Foundation finalists. Voting closed on November 30, after being extended to accommodate extraordinary interest from the global Jewish community.
The annual $1 million Genesis Prize, dubbed the “Jewish Nobel” by Time magazine, honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity and commitment to Jewish values.
“This is the first time we opened the previously highly discreet laureate selection process to the global Jewish community,” said co-founder and chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation Stan Polovets. “While we were somewhat hesitant to change the formula that has produced seven outstanding laureates since 2014, the response has exceeded our most optimistic expectations. It is clear that the public wants to have a voice in selecting Jewish role models and modern heroes.”
Close to 200,000 Jews representing six continents cast their votes for the 2021 Genesis Prize laureate. The campaign sparked a lively debate in Jewish communities around the globe. According to the foundation, no less than 10% of the world’s Jewish population engaged on social media, viewing, sharing and commenting in English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, French and German. Many nominations and comments favored giving the award to prominent politicians, who, according to the foundation, were not among the finalists because of the nonpolitical nature of the prize.
The finalists are Marc Benioff, founder of Salesforce, owner of Time magazine, and mega-philanthropist; Sacha Baron Cohen, actor, producer, director and vocal critic of social media platforms; Gal Gadot, actor, producer, and advocate for the empowerment of young women; Elena Kagan, justice of the United States Supreme Court; Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, of blessed memory, theologian, author and chief rabbi of the UK; Steven Spielberg, director, producer, screenwriter and philanthropist; and Barbra Streisand, singer, actor and activist.
The Genesis Prize Foundation will announce the 2021 Genesis Prize laureate early next year, and the ceremony honoring the new laureate will take place later in the year in an online format.