Culture, Politics

Newsweek makes another list

Newsweek has published a list of 50 influential rabbis. And, like last year, it’s very geographically skewed and gender-biased. And, like last year, it doesn’t take much to notice the errors in the article. You’d think with all the noise that was made last year, with all of the letters to the editors of Newsweek, they would have listened to some of the suggestions. Like taking a moment to do a quick google search for those top 50, to make sure that their mini-bios are correct (so many are not accurate). Or going outside of three cities (LA, DC, NYC). Or picking rabbis that the majority of Americans might actually have heard of. Or recognising that female rabbis account for more than the 12% of spots they’re allotted in this list. [HT: The Rooftopper Rav.] Let’s make a game of this. How many errors can Jewschool readers find? Let the commenting begin!
Are there other rabbis you would have wanted to see on this list? Who are they, and why are they important to you, and the greater community/ies?
And, all snarks aside, let’s welcome rabbis Jill Jacobs, Elie Kaunfer, and Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus to the top 50. Congratulations.

28 thoughts on “Newsweek makes another list

  1. 1. Rabbi Art Green is Rector, not Dean, of the rabbinical school at Hebrew College.
    2. Rabbi Jeffrey Wohlberg isn’t a functioning rabbi at Adas Israel anymore.

  2. 3. Jill Jacobs is Rabbi-in-Residence at JFSJ. Simon Greer is the President/CEO of the org and, presumably, has at least a hand in “running” the place.

  3. I sense a lot of anger in your post. Is it because they did not ask you to make a list to publish in Newsweek? Objectively, not looking at gender, ethnicity, location, or sexual orientation, who would you add to the list?

  4. Did you miss this part, “I Love Jewschool”?
    “25. Sharon Kleinbaum (2008 Ranking #17) Kleinbaum is the Senior Rabbi of New York’s synagogue for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews.”

  5. This list is so ridiculous. What kind of bio is this?
    “Ed Feinstein (NEW) Feinstein has taken Valley Beth Shalom to a whole new level.”
    Where is Valley Beth Shalom? City? State? What does “taking it to a whole new level” mean exactly? This list is so meaningless.

  6. The best part about this list that it was authored by three members of the Elders of Zion. “Compiled by Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman & CEO Michael Lynton, News Corporation Executive Vice President Gary Ginsberg and JTN Productions CEO Jay Sanderson” Not only do jews control the media, but the media controlling Jews now control Judaism (or at least what counts as top 50 level judaism in the eyes of said media. 🙂

  7. Where is Valley Beth Shalom? City? State? What does “taking it to a whole new level” mean exactly? This list is so meaningless.
    Yeah, they really don’t bother defining terms. What’s the CCAR? What’s Kehilat Hadar? I mean, I know what they are, but why should some Newsweek reader?

  8. So someone comment on their website! Put it here, and put it on Newsweek so there is some attempt at balance when people see the list!

  9. Huh? Why did Norman Lamn jump up 30 spots (from 43 to 14)over the course of the past year. Did I miss something?

  10. As Chorus of Apes put it, this list was compiled by “three members of the Elders of Zion.” But PLEASE everyone STOP calling it “Newsweek’s list.” It isn’t. Newsweek agreed to publish it, which is absolutely not the same thing. This has been in NO way researched or vetted by Newsweek or anyone else. Continuing to call this the Newsweek rabbi’s list only encourages others to see this list as somehow important, valuable or authoritative. It started three years ago as a game among these media executives and it is not any more scientific or journalistic now than it was then. It is a sort of “favorites list” that should have been posted to their Facebook pages, not to Newsweek.

  11. Gregg,
    I hear you, but part of the issue is that Newsweek is giving them the space to run their favorites list. If Newsweek is silly enough to put their banner above it, it’s their funeral. Otherwise, why give them the real estate? Further, here’s a quote from Lisa Miller’s “Is your Rabbi Hot or Not”
    Once is lucky. twice is nice. three times—well, anyone can tell you that’s a tradition. It is a great pleasure, then, to unveil the third annual installment of what we at NEWSWEEK fondly call the “hot rabbis list.”
    If that’s not a full on embracing of the list as their own, I don’t know what is.

  12. I hear you, but part of the issue is that Newsweek is giving them the space to run their favorites list. If Newsweek is silly enough to put their banner above it, it’s their funeral.
    In other words, calling it “Newsweek’s list” doesn’t give the list more legitimacy; it gives Newsweek less legitimacy.

  13. It’s interesting that there are no folks from Hillel on this list. not influential? no one person exceptionally influential? or just not on the radar screen of these three dudes?

  14. Yea but is Rabbi Sharon gay herself ? Either way she is still originally a woman. This is complete right wing bias against transgender Rabbi’s.

  15. Though the preamble doesn’t say as much, I assume that the compilers of this list intentionally restricted it to the USA only.

  16. yo!nina, most of the top brass at Hillel are not rabbis including Wayne Firestone the director, Infeld the president emirtus, Rob Goldberg the main VP (i think?), etc.
    re: gender and regional diversity…i think that a non-diverse list is not itself proof that it doesn’t accurately reflect powerfulness, in-demandness, etc. It may just mimic a broader bias against women rabbis (both the mimicking and broader bias are obviously bad). It shouldn’t be surprising that a list of talented/smart/hot/whatever rabbis would have most of them from NYC, Boston, DC, and LA. The NYC area contains roughly a third of Jews in the US. Throw in the other three and I imagine you are looking at more like two-thirds of American Jews. Though most Rabbis wish to live in one of those four areas (more than two-thirds, I’d think) so the jobs their are more competitive. The result is that big Jewish centers get disproportionately in-demand rabbis.

  17. <>
    A quick question: Does Sharon Kleinbaum refer to herself as Rabbi Sharon? If she does, then please disregard this. But if not, referring to her as Rabbi *Sharon* rather than Rabbi Kleinbaum diminishes her position/title in so many ways.

  18. zt – there’s only one rabbi from Boston on the list (and he was plenty famous and influential before he came here). It’s nice when Boston gets lumped in with the bigger cities, but in this case, it’s not accurate. (We might lay some claim to Rabbi Kaunfer, since he grew up in Providence and went to college in MA, but that’s a stretch.)

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