The Man Behind The ‘Jewish Nobel Prize’
In rare interview, Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman explains goals of million-dollar annual honor he helped create.Tuesday, July 24, 2012Gary RosenblattEditor and Publisher
In mid-May 2013, just before Shavuot, the first winner of the annual $1 million Genesis Prize, described as the “Jewish Nobel Prize,” is scheduled to be announced in Jerusalem amidst much media hoopla.
Created by the Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), a Moscow-based international organization formed five years ago seeking to develop and enhance a sense of Jewish identity among Russian-speaking Jews in the United States, Israel and the former Soviet Union, the prize will be given to someone who is widely known for outstanding achievements in his or her professional field, has positive feelings toward the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and can serve as a role model for young people.
Don’t be surprised if the individual most responsible for the creation of the prize, and funding for it — Russian billionaire businessman and philanthropist Mikhail Fridman — takes a low-key role at the Jerusalem ceremony.
Known far more for his business savvy and success than his public appearances, Fridman, who lives in Moscow, eschews the spotlight and rarely speaks to the press. But he proposed and sat through an hour-and-a half interview — his first with Jewish media — during a recent visit to New York, eager to explain the philosophy and goals of the Genesis Prize, and to raise awareness of it. [Read more]