Film star Michael Douglas delivered a speech at a temple in a New York City suburb on Yom Kippur.
Douglas — who this summer received the Genesis Prize, informally known as the “Jewish Nobel” — spoke to more than 1,000 worshipers Tuesday night at Temple Shaaray Tefila, the New York Post reported.
In his 20-minute unannounced speech at the Reform congregation in Bedford, New York, Douglas described how he is “reconnecting” with Judaism and recalled how his famous father Kirk Douglas experienced anti-¬Semitism when he first began working in Hollywood.
Much of the speech was about the need for the Jewish community to be inclusive, according to the Post.
Douglas’ wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, and their children Dylan and Carys, also attended the event. Dylan Douglas celebrated his bar mitzvah at the temple in May 2014, and Carys is preparing for her bat mitzvah (Douglas reportedly joked that he hopes his latest film performs well at the box office, because he is in the midst of party planning for the bat mitzvah).
Shaaray Tefila Senior Rabi David Greenberg invited Douglas.
Douglas was in Israel in mid-June to receive the prize, and then, too he emphasized the importance of an inclusive Judaism that can embrace all streams of the faith.
“I am a Jew,” he said at the start of his acceptance speech. “Those are four words of pride. My Jewishness is as deep as my genes,” he said, referring to his 97-year-old father, Kirk.
Speaking a few days earlier to the Associated Press, said he would use the Genesis Prize money to build bridges between Israel and increasingly assimilated Jewish communities around the world.
“Abraham’s tent had its flaps open and so hopefully since approximately half of the Jewish population in the world is outside of Israel, we can find ways to better understand each other and to grow together,” he said then.