The honorary doctorate will be presented to 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.”
A proponent of education, Streisand established the Emanuel Streisand Building for Jewish Studies on the University’s Mount Scopus campus in 1984. She dedicated the building in memory of her beloved father, Emanuel, whom she praised as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education.”
Referring to her 1983 award-winning movie, “Yentl,” in which she played the role of a young woman who enters a yeshiva disguised as a man in order to study Talmud, Streisand 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 visited Israel for the dedication and film premiere accompanied by a delegation from the West Coast chapter of American Friends of The Hebrew University (AFHU).
During 2011, Streisand appeared in a program on behalf of the welfare of soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces; the event raised $12 million and brought attention to a vital cause.
Streisand’s multi-dimensional career has kept her at the forefront of the entertainment industry for decades. Born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn in 1942, she lost her father when she was just a child. While still in her teens, the Erasmus High School honors student launched her career as a singer by initially winning a singing contest.
At age 19, Streisand had her Broadway debut, and in 1962, made her debut album, which quickly became the top-selling record by a female vocalist in the United States.
By age 28, she 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. Among her myriad accolades, she received an Oscar for Best Actress ("Funny Girl," 1968), and for composing the music for Best Original Song ("Evergreen," 1976).
Civic activism, philanthropic leadershipDuring her career, she has been honored by the Directors Guild of America and received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton, the Peabody Award, the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement and Kennedy Center Honors.
The internationally recognized artist received France’s Legion of Honor from President Nicolas Sarkozy. Additionally, Streisand is an author and photographer known for her critically acclaimed book, “My Passion for Design.”
Streisand has been long admired for her civic activism and philanthropic leadership. Her commitment is reflected in the work of The Streisand Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering women’s equality and health, protecting human and civil rights, advancing the needs of at-risk children in society and preserving the environment.
Often donating the proceeds from her performances on behalf of important causes, Streisand has been a leading spokesperson and fund-raiser for AIDS research and treatment; she received the 1992 Commitment to Life Award from the AIDS Project Los Angeles.
In 1989, she established a chair in Environmental Science at the Environmental Defense Fund, with a focus on global climate change, and later funded the participation of the organization’s top scientists at the Global Warming World Summit in Kyoto.
She was also a leading contributor to the William Jefferson Clinton Climate Change Initiative. Streisand has been a driving force behind the Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, which renamed the center in her honor, The Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center.
Streisand holds an Honorary Doctorate in Arts and Humanities from Brandeis University (1995). A forceful advocate for social justice, she received The Humanitarian Award from the Human Rights Campaign and was awarded the ACLU Bill of Rights Award from the American Civil Liberties Union for her defense of US constitutional rights.