Physics Prof Confirms Gift to J Street

By JTA

Published August 03, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A physicist said he would probably donate part of the $3 million he won in a surprise award to J Street, the liberal pro-Israel group.

Edward Witten
Edward Witten

Edward Witten, a professor of mathematical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton N.J., was one of nine physicists chosen by Yuri Milner, a Russian high-tech investor, to receive the $27 million Fundamental Physics Prize.

The award was made public this week, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the scientists were taken aback when Milner called beforehand to tell them; it is the first time he is awarding the prize.

Witten said that J Street, which presses for a greater U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, would likely get some of the money.

Witten, who has a masters and doctorate degree from Princeton University, has been on the finance committee for J Street since 2008. He also has been on the board of Americans for Peace Now since about 1991.

“I believe that the need for a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the central issue before the Jewish world,” Witten, who is Jewish, told JTA. “A lot of people unfortunately do not realize that the chance for such a solution is slipping away, or understand the implications if it does.”

He added: “I like to say that in my life, apart from the family there are three passions – physics, tennis, and Israel.”

J Street congratulated Witten.

“I couldn’t be happier for Edward and that he is receiving the recognition he deserves for the work he does,” J Street director Jeremy Ben Ami said in an email to JTA. “We’re very appreciative as well that on a day celebrating his achievements, he thinks of other issues of importance to the world, such as the quest for Middle East peace.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Sigal Samuel's family amulet isn't just rumored to have magical powers. It's also a symbol of how Jewish and Indian rituals became intertwined over the centuries. http://jd.fo/a3BvD Only three days left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.