Actress Natalie Portman has been named the 2018 Genesis Prize Laureate for being a role model to young Jewish people.
The Black Swan star will return to birth city of Jerusalem, Israel in June (18) to attend the ceremony, where she will receive the honor, which is awarded annually to “extraordinary individuals” for inspiring Jews through their professional achievements and commitments to the Jewish people and Jewish values.
“I am deeply touched and humbled by this honor,” she said in a statement. “I am proud of my Israeli roots and Jewish heritage; they are crucial parts of who I am. It is such a privilege to be counted among the outstanding Laureates whom I admire so much. I express my heartfelt gratitude to the Genesis Prize Foundation, and look forward to using the global platform it provides to make a difference in the lives of women in Israel and beyond.”
The $1 million prize money will be donated to philanthropic programs which promote women’s equality in the Oscar winner’s honor.
The 36-year-old was born Neta-Lee Hershlag to an Israeli father and an American mother and moved to the U.S. when she was three years old. She remains a dual citizen of both countries, and even directed and starred in Hebrew-language film A Tale of Love and Darkness in 2015.
“Her talent, her commitment to social causes and her deep connection to her Jewish and Israeli roots are greatly admired,” said Stan Polovets, co-founder and Chairman of the Genesis Prize Foundation.
“She exemplifies the core traits of the Jewish character and values of the Jewish people – persistence and hard work, pursuit of excellence, intellectual curiosity, and a heartfelt desire to contribute to making the world a better place. Without a doubt, she is a role model for millions of young Jews around the world.”
Natalie follows in the footsteps of previous Laureates including Michael Douglas and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.