Michael Douglas, Natan Sharansky to discuss anti-Semitism in campus visits


(JTA) — American actor Michael Douglas and Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky will visit three U.S. university campuses to talk about Israel and modern anti-Semitism.

Douglas and Sharansky will visit Brown University on Jan. 28, Stanford University on Feb. 2 and the University of California at Santa Barbara on Feb. 3. They will also address the issue of tolerance and inclusion in the Jewish community worldwide.

The program, “Jewish Journeys: A Conversation with Michael Douglas and Natan Sharansky,” is co-hosted by the Genesis Prize Foundation, Hillel International and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Douglas, who won the 2015 Genesis Prize, pledged to use his platform and $1 million in prize money to improve outreach to intermarried families.

Sharansky is a former Soviet refusenik and political prisoner and the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

“This is the first time, in this current period of heightened anti-Israel activity on campus, that a Hollywood celebrity has offered to join with a world Jewish leader to visit U.S. college campuses and speak with students about Israel and the Jewish people. At a time when certain individuals and groups in the academic community as well as other forces are making sustained efforts to delegitimize Israel, these visits are particularly important and timely,” said Genesis Prize Foundation co-founder and chairman Stan Polovets.

The Genesis Prize is endowed by the Genesis Philanthropy Group, which endeavors to build Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews worldwide.

“I was honored to receive the Genesis Prize last year, and it has encouraged me to deepen my commitment and belief that we must all be more inclusive in order that the Jewish faith and culture thrive,” Douglas said in a statement. “These visits provide an opportunity for Natan and me to speak directly with young people about the challenges they encounter, and share insight about how we have dealt with these situations throughout our life.”

Recommended from JTA