Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) hands the Genesis Award to Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman, during the Genesis Award ceremony at the Jerusalem Theater, on Thursday, June 23, 2016. Photo by Kobi Gideon / GPO
In his book, To Heal a Fractured World, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks recalls how renowned Israeli-American violinist, conductor, and pedagogue Itzhak Perlman came onto the stage at Lincoln Center in New York City to play a violin concerto—presumably something he had done many times before.
But as Perlman sat down to play this time in 1995, one of the strings on his violin broke. The audience assumed that Perlman would have to find another violin or another string for the one he was using—delaying the concert. Instead, Perlman waited a moment, closed his eyes, and signaled the conductor to begin.
He played the entire concerto on just three strings.
Afterwards—following a standing ovation—Perlman spoke. He said, “Sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what remains.”
That story, retold by Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein during a ceremony held at the Knesset on June 22, was meant to encapsulate the message that “we have to make the world a better place with what we have,” said Edelstein.
On June 23 in Jerusalem, Perlman received the 2016 Genesis Prize, an award that honors individuals who have attained excellence in their professional fields, have made a significant contribution to humanity, and serve as an inspiration to others through their dedication to Jewish values and the State of Israel. The annual prize, a partnership of the State of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the Genesis Prize Foundation, carries a $1 million reward, which Perlman said he will use to primarily to invest in projects that foster greater integration of people with disabilities into Israeli and North American societies. Reprinted from the Connecticut Jewish Ledger READ MORE