On July 5, Lynn Schusterman received the Builder of Jerusalem award from Mayor Nir Barkat in a special ceremony. The award recognizes those who demonstrate a deep personal commitment to the city and whose work is helping to shape a promising future for Jerusalem. Lynn took the opportunity to share her vision for the road ahead and to encourage the young Jewish leaders in attendance to be part of Jerusalem's evolution.
Below are the remarks Lynn shared when accepting the award.
Thank you, Nir. I am honored to receive this award, and I appreciate your kind words.
It was 40 years ago when I first visited and fell in love with, Jerusalem. I knew then I wanted to be a part of building this city’s future. That is why Charlie and I began our philanthropy in Israel, and it is why we made Jerusalem our second home.
Since then, the city has made a lot of progress. You can see it all around us. People speak with renewed optimism and pride in Jerusalem that was unimaginable even a few years ago.
However, in other ways, it feels like we have made no progress at all. For proof, look no further than the heartbreaking decisions made in Jerusalem recently that threaten the basic value of religious freedom. As someone who loves Jerusalem and Israel with all of my heart, it is painful to see that my Jewishness, and the Jewishness of so many like me, may not be recognized here in our homeland.
We must stop this. Jerusalem and the Jewish people deserve better.
But make no mistake; I am not giving up, and neither should any of you.
So I accept the Builder of Jerusalem award on behalf of all those who believe in Jerusalem as a model of diversity, tolerance, belonging and coexistence, along with those who believe that Israel is the homeland for all Jewish people.
I accept it on behalf of all those who see Jerusalem as a universal mirror—one that reflects the world’s challenges as well as its boundless potential. For me, building Jerusalem is an integral part of helping to repair the world.
As you heard the amazing Yonatan Blumenfeld say so beautifully the other night, Jerusalem is indescribable. “She lies under our words, between our sounds and syllables.”
Builders of Jerusalem never lose sight of its promise. Thank you, Nir, for recognizing that these builders can be any gender, sexual orientation or denomination. That is the Jersualem I know and love.
Now, I want to officially welcome everyone here tonight. I’m so happy to see nearly 300 members of our global ROI Community, each of whom is and will be a builder of Jerusalem. As I told our newest members, you are now part of a global network. That starts tonight as you begin to discover and connect with hundreds of other ROI members.
I am also thrilled that my daughter Stacy, my partner in this work, is here with us. Thank you also to the team at the Schusterman Foundation and ROI Community.
I love you all. I dedicate tonight to realizing our vision of a strong, vibrant Jerusalem—speedily within our days. Todah rabah!