Michael Douglas was on the verge of tears as he accepted a special prize in Israel with an equally emotional Catherine Zeta-Jones by his side. The Wall Street actor was given the equivalent of a Nobel prize in the Jewish world, called the Genesis Award.
Having weathered many storms in 15 years of marriage, the power couple seem stronger than ever, making the occasion was as much a celebration of family unity. In attendance too were their two beautiful young children: Dylan, 14, who has inherited the distinctive Douglas cleft chin and Carys, 13, who takes after her mother for elegance.
In an interview with the AP Michael touched on their renewed happiness following a separation in 2013. “Catherine is wonderful,” the actor said, during the trip in which they visited the Wailing Wall and were received by Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. “Our kids are here, and we’re having a fantastic time. Life is good.”
The Oscar-winning actor’s speech was full of references to the way in which his family have inspired him. He pointed out that Dylan’s decision to have a bar mitzvah had been particularly important. “It made me think and it made me strong. And for that I will always be grateful,” he said to applause, while his teenage son appeared to choke up.
He said he was “touched” by the spirituality of his father Kirk Douglas who had recorded a video message for the event.The veteran star chose to have his own bar mitzvah aged 83 after surviving a serious plane crash and a life-threatening stroke.
Michael added that Carys will soon have her bat mitzvah, the female version of the coming of age ceremony.
The high point of the speech came when he declared: “I am a Jew. Those are four words of pride. My Jewishness is as deep as my genes.”
The prize was set up in 2014 to honour individuals who have attained excellence in their field and can be role models for a new generation of Jews.