President Isaac Herzog of Israel on Wednesday night presented the Genesis Prize to Dr. Albert Bourla at a ceremony in Jerusalem. The annual $1 million Genesis Prize, or as Time magazine called it, the “Jewish Nobel,” honors extraordinary individuals for their outstanding professional achievement, contribution to humanity, and commitment to Jewish values and the State of Israel. Sometimes the prize is awarded to a recipient who turns the even into an anti-Israel embarrassment (Natalie Portman), sometimes to a non-Jew (Michael Douglas), but most times they deserve the Jewish nation’s praise and gratitude, and Wednesday’s recipient certainly earned them.
In addition to honoring the unprecedented impact of Dr. Bourla’s leadership at Pfizer––saving millions of lives from the coronavirus pandemic by offering a vaccine only about a year after the outbreak, an incredible feat––the award also celebrates Bourla’s pride in his Jewish identity and heritage and his strong support for the State of Israel.
Eat your heart out, Natalie Portman.
In keeping with the accolades for his Jewish fortitude, Dr. Bourla asked the Genesis Foundation to donate his $1 million prize to establishing a Holocaust Museum of Greece in Saloniki, a port city in Greece where the thriving Jewish community of 55,000 was destroyed by the occupying Nazis during World War 2. Only about 2,000 survived. Dr Bourla was born in Saloniki. The Greek Holocaust Museum will immortalize the history of the Greek Jewish community from antiquity to the modern age.
We looked it up––so you won’t have to––and discovered that Dr. Albert Bourla’s estimated net worth is about $35.3 Million as of December 17, 2021. So it can be said that parting with a cool million is a meaningful gesture for him. Bourla owns over 123,055 units of Pfizer stock worth over $11,858,885, and over the last 8 years, he sold PFE stock worth over $5,557,386. In addition, he makes $17,929,000 as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Pfizer (source: Wallmine). So, like I said, he is rich but not Opps-I-dropped-a-million-through-the-hole-in-my-pocket rich.
President Herzog said at the ceremony: “Albert Bourla was not deterred by high stakes, by naysayers, by conspiracy, or by politics. He believed in the vaccine and invested every ounce of himself in realizing what seemed at the time a far-fetched fantasy. The vaccine was developed at record speed, utilizing the technology of tomorrow to successfully hold back a devastating pandemic. A study published by The Lancet just days ago points to nearly 20 million lives saved by COVID vaccines. Indeed, the vaccine gave us the freedom we thought we lost. Albert, I congratulate you and your colleagues and counterparts, who are making such a critical impact on humanity, while embracing your Jewish heritage and values, and inspiring Jewish pride.”
2022 Genesis Prize Laureate Dr. Albert Bourla said: “I am honored and deeply humbled to receive the Genesis Prize. Honored because I never set out to be famous, and I never imagined that I would one day be up here with the illustrious nominees and past awardees—artists, philanthropists, and statesmen and stateswomen who show the world the best that the Jewish people have to offer. And humbled because this is not my award—it belongs to all Pfizer colleagues who worked tirelessly in the middle of a global pandemic to make the ‘impossible possible’ and give the world a chance to return to normalcy. Every life is precious and we must confront our challenges with courage, humility, and perseverance. My Pfizer colleagues lived these values, and I am proud to be here in Israel to celebrate them and their extraordinary achievement.”