Two Is­raelis win MacArthur ‘ge­nius’ grants

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - (Screen­shot)

An Is­raeli computer sci­en­tist and an Amer­i­can opera di­rec­tor born to Is­raeli par­ents are among the win­ners of this year’s MacArthur Foun­da­tion “ge­nius” grants.

Regina Barzi­lay, 46, is a com­pu­ta­tional lin­guist based at the Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy whose work in­cludes train­ing ma­chines to un­der­stand dif­fer­ent lan­guages. Her re­search helped de­ci­pher part of the semitic Ugaritic lan­guage by map­ping it onto He­brew, a lin­guis­tic rel­a­tive.

Yu­val Sharon, 37, whose Is­raeli par­ents moved to Chicago when he was born, is the founder and artis­tic di­rec­tor of The In­dus­try, a Los An­ge­les-based pro­duc­tion com­pany. His pro­duc­tions are of­ten non­con­ven­tional, such as In­vis­i­ble Cities, a 2013 adap­tion of an Italo Calvino novel staged at Union Sta­tion in Los An­ge­les. His 2015 pro­duc­tion of Hop­scotch: A Mo­bile Opera for 24 Cars took place in lo­ca­tions through­out the city.

The win­ners of the award from the Chicago-based John D. and Cather­ine T. MacArthur Foun­da­tion each re­ceive a $625,000 grant in recog­ni­tion of “ex­tra­or­di­nary orig­i­nal­ity and ded­i­ca­tion in their cre­ative pur­suits.” Past Jewish re­cip­i­ents in­clude The Wire cre­ator David Si­mon, nov­el­ist Ben Lerner and visual artist Ni­cole Eisen­man. (JTA)


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