Legendary American Jewish actress and singer Barbra Streisand will receive an honorary doctor of philosophy degree from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem next month.
The university said it is honoring Streisand “in recognition of her professional achievements, outstanding humanitarianism, leadership in the realm of human and civil rights, and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people.”
Prof. Menahem Ben-Sasson, president of the Hebrew University, stated, “Barbra Streisand’s transcendent talent is matched by her passionate concern for equality and opportunity for people of every gender and background. Equally important, her love of Israel and her Jewish heritage are reflected in so many aspects of her life and career. We are deeply proud to honor an individual who exemplifies these values which we at the Hebrew University share and uphold.”
Streisand established the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies on the University’s Mount Scopus campus in 1984 in memory of her father, whom she praised as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education.”
Referring to her 1983 award-winning movie, “Yentl,” she said she was pleased that women could now “pursue Jewish studies without having to disguise themselves as men.” The film, which she directed, produced, and co-wrote, had its Israeli premiere in 1984 under the sponsorship of the Israel Friends of The Hebrew University.
Streisand will sing publicly for the first time in Israel when she visits next month and performs in two concerts. The personal highlight of her trip will be the performance on the opening night of the Israeli Presidential Conference at the Jerusalem International Convention Center June 18.
Two years ago, Streisand appeared in a program on behalf of the welfare of soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, raising $12 million.
Born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1942, she lost her father when she was just a child. While still in her teens, she launched her career as a singer by initially winning a singing contest. At age 19, Streisand made her Broadway debut, and in 1962 she issued her first album, which quickly became the top-selling record by a female vocalist in the United States.
By age 28, Streisand had already earned five of the entertainment industry’s most prestigious awards – the Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe, making her an icon of American culture and an international favorite.
The honorary degree from Hebrew University will not be her first. Streisand holds an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis.
Streisand once sang the Israel national anthem, taking the stage at the conclusion of the 1978 Stars Salute Israel show.
A YouTube video of her rendition can be seen below.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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