Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was honored by hundreds of dignitaries from around the world as the inaugural Genesis Prize Laureate at a ceremony at the Jerusalem Theatre on May 22, 2014. The evening’s celebration, emceed by the iconic comedian Jay Leno, included performances by Grammy award winning pianist Evgeny Kissin and Israel’s beloved national singer Rita.

Michael Fridman, co-founder of the Genesis Prize Foundation and the visionary behind this unique award, told the audience that the Genesis Prize is intended to inspire the next generation of Jews with the example of the Laureate’s outstanding professional achievement, contributions to humanity and commitment to Jewish values.

Accepting the first annual Genesis Prize, Bloomberg said:

"Freedom. Justice. Service. Ambition. Innovation. These values have guided me through life. I think they’re the same values that have guided the Jewish people through adversity and exile, poverty and plagues – right up to the creation of Israel. They are the reason Israel has such a remarkable start-up spirit, and why it has become such a powerful driver of progress in tech, medicine, and communications. To the future awardees in the Genesis Generation, I offer a few words of advice: follow your convictions. Think big. Take chances. Believe that tomorrow can be better than today – and understand that it’s your responsibility to help make it so."