By Marista Lane
For the third year in a row, Newsweek published a list of the country’s Top 50 Influential Rabbis (or what the magazine fondly refers to as the “hot rabbis list”), those who are considered leaders in the world Jewish community. This list is compiled by three media tycoons, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman and CEO Michael Lynton, News Corporation Executive Vice President Gary Ginsberg and JTN Productions CEO Jay Sanderson, and as they said, “intended to provoke a global conversation about the role of our religious leaders in today’s world.” Leading the list this year is Rabbi David Saperstein, who is the Director of the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC and the Co-Chair of the Coalition to Preserve Religious Liberty. He’s also a Friend of President Obama.
This year, the tycoons also compiled a list of America’s 25 Most Vibrant Congregations.
Did your synagogue or rabbi make the list? Is there a synagogue or rabbi you feel was overlooked?
By Jeremy Gillick
The Forward has published its annual list of America’s 50 most important Jews: the Forward 50.
Winners 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. Continue reading
Posted in Arts & Culture, Culture, Misc, Politics, religion
Tagged Agriprocessors, AIPAC, Dara Torres, David Saperstein, Eric Alterman, Forward, Forward 50, Ilan Stavans, J-Street, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Jews, Jon Stewart, Morris Allen, Rahm Emanuel, Sarah Silverman, Sidney Offit
Over 300 American rabbis publicly announced their support for Barack Obama yesterday with the launch of a “Rabbis for Obama” website.
The movement was founded by Rabbis Sam Gordon and Steve Bob of Illinois in response to what they call the “smear campaign against Obama” that “has been waged in the Jewish community.”
“The smears and lies are specifically targeted to the fears and prejudices of Jews,” Gordon said in a phone interview this morning. “The kind of attacks and criticisms of him are totally unwarranted and caused me and others to respond in a way unprecedented in the history of Jewish rabbis.”
While Gordon and Bob both belong to the Union for Reform Judaism, they say rabbinical support for Obama—and for their movement—comes from across the spectrum. Continue reading
In an effort to display the religiousness of its candidate and reach out to religious voters, the Democratic National Convention will feature numerous events, speakers and even prayer services next week in Denver.
Four rabbis were invited to the conference. David Saperstein, the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, will offer a prayer before the 70,000 people who are expected to attend on August 28, the day Sen. Barack Obama is scheduled to be officially nominated.
Other rabbis who will be in attendance include Orthodox rabbi Mark Schneier (left), the founding director of the Jewish-Muslim Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. He will take part in the opening ceremony alongside Reform rabbi Amy Schwartzman. Continue reading