A prestigious Jewish organization gave its first lifetime achievement award Wednesday to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The Genesis Prize Foundation cited what it calls Ginsburg’s “groundbreaking legal work in the field of civil liberties and women’s rights” when it announced late last year she would be the recipient.
“I am a judge, born and raised and proud of being a Jew. The demand for justice, for peace, for enlightenment runs thorough the entirety of Jewish tradition and Jewish history,” Ginsburg said in her acceptance speech in Tel Aviv.
She said she hopes to have the “strength and courage to remain steadfast in service to that demand” as she continues serving on the United States’ highest court.
Former President Bill Clinton, who appointed Ginsburg in 1993, sent a congratulatory letter, saying he is proud to have named her to the court.
“Your groundbreaking legal work has pioneered civil liberties and women’s rights in the United States,” Clinton wrote.
A group of wealthy Russian-Jewish businessmen, working with the Israeli government, established the Genesis Foundation in 2013 to honor Jews who have made major contributions to humanity.
It comes with a $1 million prize.
Past recipients have been former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, actor Michael Douglas, classical violinist Itzhak Perlman, British sculptor Anish Kapoor and actress Natalie Portman.
Portman created a controversy last year when she refused to attend the ceremony, saying she did not want to look like she was endorsing the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ginsburg is the first recipient of the foundation’s lifetime achievement award.