JERUSALEM, May 22, 2014.

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. 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.

Michael Fridman said:

“The aim of this prize is to awaken the Jewish identity by recognizing that being Jewish is not just an accident of birth, but a huge gift. Our forbearers have left us something far more valuable than land, castles or titles. They left us the Word, the Book and a set of values and rules, which, if understood correctly and applied diligently, lead to the ultimate reward in life – a sense of fulfillment and self-actualization.”

Award Ceremony 2014

The speech of the Co-founder of Genesis Prize Foundation Michael Fridman at the first Genesis Prize Ceremony

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."