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Actor Billy Crystal Makes Major Gift to Hebrew U

Actor Billy Crystal has made a “substantial” gift to the Hebrew University in Jerusalem to foster activities in a performing arts project named for him.

The gift, announced in a news release by the American Friends of the Hebrew University, will be used to create and present workshops, programs and theatrical performances at the university that bring Jews and Arabs together as a means to promote tolerance and improved cultural and social understanding.

The organization called the gift “substantial” and said it would endow the Billy Crystal Peace through the Performing Arts project so that it could run in perpetuity.

Crystal became involved with the university in 1999 when the American Friends of the Hebrew University gave him the organization’s Scopus Prize for his work in the Jewish community and in fighting global hunger. He established the peace project in 1999.

“Billy has a great appreciation and love for Israel and the Jewish community and a major interest in education, and I think the Hebrew University meets all of his personal philanthropic needs – plus he is very concerned about the peace process and the human condition in general,” the American Friends’ national executive director, Peter Wellner, told JTA. “He is a real mensch.”

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