Actor Billy Crystal has made a gift to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to foster ongoing activities at the “Billy Crystal Peace through the Performing Arts” project, which he established in 1999, according to the group’s American fund-raising branch.
The gift will be used to create and present workshops, programs and theatrical performances at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem that bring Jews and Arabs together as a means to promote tolerance and improved cultural and social understanding, according to a release issued by the organization.
It is not clear how large the gift is, but an employee at the organization said it was "substantial."
Here is the release:
NEW YORK, September 16, 2010 – Billy Crystal, the award-winning actor, writer, comedian and film director, has made a substantial gift to foster ongoing activities at the “Billy Crystal Peace through the Performing Arts” project.
The gift, which was announced by American Friends of The Hebrew University (AFHU), will be used to create and present workshops, programs and theatrical performances at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem that bring Jews and Arabs together as a means to promote tolerance and improved cultural and social understanding.
A longstanding supporter of The Hebrew University with a strong commitment to Israel, Mr. Crystal is a recipient of AFHU’s National Scopus Award, the highest humanitarian honor the organization confers.
“We are dazzled not only by Billy Crystal’s exceptional career achievements, but by his commitment to human rights. He takes a deeply imaginative approach to fostering co-existence in the Middle East” said Martin E. Karlinsky, AFHU president. “We are grateful for his creativity, philanthropy and advocacy of these vital programs.”
The “Peace for Performing Arts” program was established at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Theater Studies Department in 1999.
Among the varied creative programs offered over the years, “The Stage as a Bridge” (2003) brought together Israeli and Palestinian actors, facilitating their efforts to use live theater as a tool for peace education.
In 2008, a major three-day conference themed “Theater in a Multicultural Society: Dialogues with Artists,” presented excerpts from performance pieces created with the support of the “Billy Crystal Project for Peace through Performing Arts.”
“By spearheading Peace through the Performing Arts, Billy Crystal has displayed his abiding concern for people from every background and walk of life, “ stated Mark Vidergauz, president of AFHU’s Western Region.
“Hebrew University shares this commitment to inspiring open dialogue among people in the Middle East through the arts and education.” In addition to his support for The Hebrew University, Mr. Crystal actively participates in Celebrity Fight Night, a charity that advances Parkinson’s research at institutions such as the Muhammed Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute. The actor and film director has raised millions of dollars to fight homelessness, and supports the work of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.