Barbra Streisand and Steven Spielberg are among this year’s recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The two Jewish personalities will be joined by fellow Member of the Tribe honorees Stephen Sondheim and Itzhak Perlman at the ceremony in Washington next week.
“I look forward to presenting these 17 distinguished Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor,” President Barack Obama said in announcing the recipients.
“From public servants who helped us meet defining challenges of our time to artists who expanded our imaginations, from leaders who have made our union more perfect to athletes who have inspired millions of fans, these men and women have enriched our lives and helped define our shared experience as Americans.”
Of Spielberg, the White House said:
“A three-time Academy Award winner, Spielberg is widely considered one of the most influential filmmakers in cinematic history. His films have grossed over 8.5 billion dollars worldwide. Spielberg is the co-founder of DreamWorks Studios as well as the founder of the USC Shoah Foundation, an organization dedicated to overcoming intolerance and bigotry through the use of visual history testimony.”
Of Streisand, the White House added:
“Streisand is also a recipient of four Peabody Awards, in addition to the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors. In 2009, she endowed the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, which works to correct gender inequality in the research of a disease which each year kills more women than men.”
The other recipients include Yogi Berra, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Willie Mays, and James Taylor.