(JTA) — Elie Wiesel, the speaker of Israel’s Knesset and two former Israel Supreme Court justices are among those who will select the winner of a new $1 million prize for serving as a role model for Jewish values.
The Genesis Philanthropy Group, a consortium of mega-wealthy philanthropist-businessmen from the former Soviet Union, announced the formation of the two committees that will determine the inaugural winner of the Genesis Prize, which will be given out annually.
Dubbed the Jewish Nobel Prize by Time Magazine, the $1 million Genesis Prize will be awarded to an accomplished, internationally renowned professional from anywhere in the world who is a role model in his or her community and who can inspire the younger generation of Jews worldwide. The inaugural Genesis Prize will be awarded in the spring of 2014 in Jerusalem by the prime minister of Israel, the Genesis Prize Foundation said in a statement.
Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency, is chairman of the eight-member Genesis Prize Selection Committee. Other Selection Committee members include Lord Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, and Fiamma Nirenstein, a journalist and author and former Italian member of Parliament.
The Prize Committee, chaired by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, also includes Wiesel, a Nobel laureate and professor at Boston University; Meir Shamgar, justice and president emeritus of the Supreme Court of Israel; and Tova Strasberg-Cohen, retired justice of the Supreme Court of Israel.
Candidates will be nominated by leaders of prominent institutions and organizations in every major Jewish community as well as major universities around the world. The Selection Committee will narrow the list to five candidates, who then will be considered by the Prize Committee.
Committee members were selected for their outstanding leadership in areas such as international affairs and journalism, human rights and justice, and business and philanthropy, as well as their unwavering support of Jewish causes, according to the foundation.
The Genesis Prize Foundation was established in 2012 by the Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel to strengthen the connection of the Jewish people around the world to the cultural and spiritual values that unite them.