US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has won The Genesis Prize Foundation's first lifetime achievement award.
The Genesis Foundation's $1 million Genesis Prize, known as the 'Jewish Nobel', honours people "who have attained excellence and international renown in their chosen professional fields, and who inspire others through their engagement and dedication to the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel."
This year's prize winner was Natalie Portman and she, along with former winners actor Michael Douglas, violinist Itzhak Perlman, sculptor Anish Kapoor and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg selected Justice Ginsberg as the recipient of the Inaugural Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award.
Justice Ginsburg, who is the longest-serving Jewish justice on the US Supreme Court, was awarded the prize "as an outstanding daughter of the Jewish people who made an enduring contribution to human civilization, who is an example of talent and achievement and who is committed to bettering the world."
“She is a source of inspiration not just for Jews but for people of all faiths and ethnicities around the world.”
In 1993 she was nominated by Bill Clinton to be only the second woman, and the first Jewish woman, to sit on America's highest court and in 2014 she became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex wedding.
She has been outspoken about her Jewish heritage and how it has inspired her and her role in law. She spoke earlier this year at a Rosh Hashanah service in Washington, DC, saying: “The Jewish religion is an ethical religion. That is, we are taught to do right, to love mercy, do justice, not because there’s gonna be any reward in heaven or punishment in hell.
“We live righteously because that’s how people should live and not anticipating any award in the hereafter.”
Her award, however, will be presented to her by the former president of Israel’s Supreme Court, Aharon Barak, in a ceremony in Tel Aviv next July.