Miri Ben-Ari, a Grammy Award-winning violinist, will be among the 90 honorees to receive the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations on Saturday, May 9. The 29th annual ceremony will be held on Ellis Island at 6:30 p.m., followed by a gala dinner in the historic Great Hall.
The Israeli-born Ben-Ari, a violinist, producer, and humanitarian, has lived in Edgewater for six years. A classically trained violinist, she studied under Isaac Stern. She also is the founder/CEO of Gedenk, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting tolerance to youth through creative campaigns and raising awareness about racism and anti-Semitism.
In 2011, she was honored at a White House ceremony and in 2012 she was invited to perform for President Barack Obama. She received the first Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Israeli award from Israeli President Shimon Peres and the first 2015 Girl Up Advocate award from the United Nations Foundation.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized among such a distinguished group of people who have shaped and influenced the lives of many. As a U.S. citizen who grew up in Israel, it has helped me to understand the importance of being true to one’s own ethical and religious heritage and promoting tolerance,” she said.
The Ellis Island Medals of Honor embody the spirit of America in their celebration of patriotism, tolerance, brotherhood, and diversity. NECO remains dedicated to the maintenance and restoration of Ellis Island, America’s greatest symbol of its immigrant history. Since the medal’s founding in 1986, it has honored distinguished and diverse Americans including six U.S. presidents and Nobel Prize recipient Elie Wiesel.
The Ellis Island Medal of Honor ranks among the nation’s most prestigious awards.