The Forward 50: 2008 Jews of the Year

By Jeremy Gillick

The Forward has published its annual list of America’s 50 most important Jews: the Forward 50.

f50-remanuel-081Winners include Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s newly appointed Chief of Staff, about whom you can read here.

There’s also Morris Allen, a Conservative Rabbi from Minnesota who helped re-invent kashrut as a moral rather than merely legal imperative, just as Agriprocessors, America’s largest kosher meat producer, sunk deeper and deeper into sin, exploitation and eventually, bankruptcy.

Jeremy Ben-Ami, founder of the new, liberal Jewish, Israel lobby group J-Street, is at the top of the list too. Although this choice is perhaps more a reflection of the Forward‘s editorial stance than of Ben-Ami’s success, the creation of a viable alternative to AIPAC is, at the very least, a major symbolic accomplishment. And it could become much more than that. Here’s what Moment columnist Eric Alterman had to say about J-Street back in July.

Other runner-ups appearing in Moment include Jon Stewart, the subject of our current cover story: Meet Jon Stuart Leibowitz aka Jon Stewart, Ilan Stavans, whose recent book Resurrecting Hebrew was reviewed in our September/October issue by Sidney Offit, as well as David Saperstein, Sarah Silverman, and Dara Torres.

How do you think the Forward did? Who’s missing? Who didn’t deserve to make it? Who do you think is America’s most influential Jew?


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