R. Michael Lerner sent out this response to being included in that Newsweek list of the top 50 rabbis. Kind of interesting:
When asked by media to comment on his selection a few days ago by Newsweek as the 28th most important rabbi in America (there are over 5,000 rabbis in the US), Rabbi Lerner issued the following statement:
“Pleased as I am by this attention, I’d feel much more honored if the list had been constructed around which rabbis are most true to God and God’s message of love, generosity, kindness, peace and justice and caring for the earth. So I want to invite people around the U.S. to nominate such rabbis, and we will announce the 50 most faithful-to-God’s-message in a future issue of Tikkun magazine.”
So, yes, Tikkun will have this contest for the God-intoxicated and God-serving rabbis. The criteria: tell us what your nominee is doing to advance the message (and the reality in the world) of love, caring, kindness, generosity, peace, justice, ecological sanity, and awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur and mystery of creation. Tell us how that extends not only to members of the Jewish community but to all of humanity, to the Other as well as to the Jew, and to the rest of the creation. Tell us why you think that person is actually having an impact in spreading this kind of message and how we could determine that. Tell us her/his denomination, if any, current work position if any, and ways that s/he pushes the boundaries, challenges the existing community limits on who is to be loved and cherished, who is to be the recipient of respect and generosity, beyond the confines of the Jewish people. Send that to [email protected]
And since we are doing this for the Jewish world, we thought we’d also be happy to accept nominations of spiritual leaders in other religious or spiritual communities as well–so tell us who you would nominate if you are part of any community with a leader who deserves this kind of recognition for embodying, teaching and spreading the message of love, peace, and generosity.
Send in your votes if you like. I confess that I’ll be happy when this whole listmania dies down, though. I’m not convinced that ranking people like this is the most productive or healthiest use of our time.