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Barbra Streisand earns honourary doctorate from Hebrew University

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Barbra Streisand accepts her honourary doctorate at Hebrew University on June 18, 2013 [Canadian Friends of Hebrew University photo]

Barbra Streisand accepted the honorary degree of doctor philosophiae honoris causa in front of a packed auditorium at Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus campus, on June 18, Tablet reports.

Streisand’s speech included references to her acting career, her connection to Judaism, and a visit to Israel 30 years ago when she dedicated the Emanual Streisand Building for Jewish Studies in honour of her father, who she praised at the time as “a teacher, scholar and religious man who devoted himself to education. I think he would be very proud to know that this esteemed institution is honouring his daughter," she told the university.”

The iconic singer-actress, who uses much of her time off-stage to serve as chair and founder of the Streisand Foundation, made use of her acceptance speech to voice her support for Women of the Wall, decry the growing trend of gender-segregated buses in religious neighbourhoods in Israel, and hail the university as an oasis of inclusion and Arab-Jewish relations in an otherwise troubled and segregated city.

“I wish the world could be more like the Hebrew University, where women and men, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians all sit together in classrooms and cafeterias,” she said.

It was a busy trip for Streisand. She was to visit the Western Wall, attend President Shimon Peres’ birthday party, and naturally, perform. Her two Jaffa concerts, happening later this week, are all sold out.

In a press release, the university said it bestowed the honour on the iconic singer "in recognition of her professional achievements, outstanding humanitarianism, leadership in the realm of human and civil rights, and dedication to Israel and the Jewish people."

With files from Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf and TimesofIsrael.com

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