2023 Genesis Prize Awarded to Ukraine Activists

2023 Genesis Prize Awarded to Ukraine Activists

Natan Sharansky, a trustee of the Genesis Prize Foundation, and Stan Polovets, founder and chairman of the foundation, announced Wednesday that this year’s Genesis Prize would be awarded to Jewish activists and nongovernmental organizations “working to support the Ukrainian people in their quest for freedom, independence, and dignity.”

The Genesis Prize, sometimes referred to as the “Jewish Nobel Prize,” is a $1 million annual prize awarded to Jews who have achieved significant professional success, and who inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and the State of Israel, in recognition of their accomplishments, contributions to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values.

Awarding the prize to a collective group rather than an individual is unusual. However, according to the announcement, “The past 11 months have been unlike any previous period in the 10-year history of the Genesis Prize, with war, destruction, and human suffering on a scale unseen since World War II. … But there has also been human kindness, compassion, and activism on an unprecedented scale. Across the world, thousands of individuals and organizations were moved to action – making a moral choice to volunteer, donate money, shelter refugees, and engage in political advocacy.”

Sharansky and Polovets said the Genesis Prize Foundation planned to make grants to NGOs dedicated to alleviating suffering in Ukraine, and will bring attention to the individuals and NGOs working to support Ukraine and encourage others to join in the struggle.

Polovets said, “The 2023 Genesis Prize honors those who have put their energy, passion, resources, and time into the quest to help Ukraine; those who have selflessly taken on the toil of alleviating Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis and helping its citizens in their fight for freedom, dignity, and independence. Rather than focus on past achievements, the 2023 Prize honors those currently engaged in good work – and encourages others to join this effort.”

Sharansky added, “International support is critical to making sure Ukraine prevails in this fight. And it is also critical for Jews to continue contributing to this effort so that we remain true to our foundational values of standing up for freedom, human dignity, and justice.”

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