America’s Top 50 Rabbis

Last year Newsweek shared a list of America’s Top 50 Rabbis. The second annual list is here. The excerpt below shares how the list was developed. Not unlike many lists I take this one with a grain of salt.

Here is the second annual version of the list—generated by Michael Lynton, (chairman & CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment), Gary Ginsberg, (executive VP, global marketing and corporate affairs, News Corp.) and Jay Sanderson, (CEO and executive producer, JTN/JTN Productions)—of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. In the fall of 2006, the friends, interested in the future of American Jewry and the evolving role of the rabbi, started a conversation that eventually became “the list.” The machers ranked the rabbis based on the following unscientific criteria:

• Are they known nationally/internationally? (20 points)
• Do they have political/social influence? (20 points)
• Do they have a media presence? (10 points)
• Are they leaders within their communities? (10 points)
• Are they considered leaders in Judaism or their movements? (10 points)
• Size of their constituency (10 points)
• Have they made an impact on Judaism in their career? (10 points)
• Have they made a greater impact beyond the Jewish community and their Rabbinical training? (10 points)

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