The Genesis Prize, also known as “the Jewish Nobel”, was awarded this year to Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer.
Two years into the global pandemic crisis, in December 2021, we started working on the ceremony. Meanwhile, the world has gone through changes that could not be ignored.
Ran Tsahor directed the event with great talent and managed it artistically with Sharon Orian. Together they created an event in which every item, every note and every word were full of emotion, an event that did not leave a single dry eye in the audience.
All dreams and creative ideas need a proper and impressive platform. Set designer Bambi Friedman created this platform, with four layers of content into the depth of the stage: a unique 33-meter-long semi-transparent mesh screen, an orchestra and musicians’ stage, an actors’ stage and a background screen.
The event opened with an item that moved everyone’s deeply – a special cover version of the song “Mad World” by rock band “HaYehudim”, with video-art of images from the war in Ukraine by talented photographer Ziv Koren, with actors who portrayed refugees, and with variations of lights and reflection.
The host, Sarah Rafferty (that’s right… Donna from SUITS!), gave the event an international flavor and stunned everyone with her talent and stage presence. Writer John Max penned the MC script.
We presented a moving connection to the prize winner’s roots – Dr. Albert Bourla is a Greek-Jew from Thessaloniki, whose parents are Holocaust survivors. He decided to donate the prize money to a museum in memory of the many Thessaloniki Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Yehuda Poliker, whose parents are also from Thessaloniki and who is also second generation to the Holocaust, sang three of his songs in Greek and Hebrew, in a show that connected to his shared biography with Dr. Bourla. Along with Poliker’s performance we projected a video-art work, in a combination that created an unforgettable item.
After the performance we continued to the prize ceremony, which was also precise and exciting, and included videos and speeches. President Herzog presented the prize to Dr. Bourla.
The ceremony was one of the most moving events in the history of the Genesis Prize, and we closed it with a special performance of Shiri Maimon singing “Heal the World” entwined with Israel’s national anthem “HaTikva” – a performance that left us all with hope that the world can be made a better place.