Creating a “best of” or a “most influential” list is always a great way to ignite a debate. Is “Citizen Kane” the best movie ever? Did “The Beatles” have the biggest impact on rock music, or does that designation belong to Elvis? A list, for better or for worse, will get people thinking and it will get people talking. Make it a list about religion and you’re guaranteed to spark a robust conversation. That’s what happened last year when Newsweek published a list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America.
Now they have done it again. And for two years running, our own Rabbi Kerry Olitzky has made the list as “one of the leading rabbinical advocates for outreach to interfaith and unaffiliated families in America.”
The list, compiled by Michael Lynton, Gary Ginsberg, and Jay Sanderson (all media executives), initially came about because these three were “interested in the future of American Jewry and the evolving role of the rabbi.” The rabbis they name represent an incredibly broad cross-section of the Jewish community – from orthodox to reform, each rabbi has made a unique impact on the community at large. Whether you agree with the list or if you think there have been rabbi’s left off, we’re thrilled that Newsweek is continuing to promote a healthy dialogue within the Jewish community.