Newsweek’s Top 50 Rabbis

For the third year in a row, we are proud to announce that JOI’s Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky has been named one of the top 50 influential rabbis in America by Newsweek magazine. He was recognized once again as “one of the leading rabbinical advocates for outreach to interfaith and unaffiliated families in America.”

The list covers a wide variety of rabbis, naming a few from every denomination. Some, like Rabbi Daniel Brenner of Birthright NEXT (who is one of the many speakers that will be presenting at our conference in June) are new to the list, while others, like Rabbi Marvin Heir of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, have hovered at or near the top all three years.

And while the rabbis are ranked, the bigger goal is to get people talking about the Jewish community. “This list is intended to provoke a global conversation about the role of our religious leaders in today’s world,” said the list’s authors Michael Lynton, Gary Ginsberg, and Jay Sanderson (all media executives). So let’s be a part of the “global conversation.” Whether you agree with the rankings or not, leave a comment and tell us what you think. We want to hear from everyone!


  1. Congratulations to those on the list, some of whom have had a significant impact on my life.

    There are few women. Does this number correspond to the percentage of existing women rabbis?

    Comment by Sara — April 16, 2009 @ 12:23 pm

  2. Rabbi Olitzky co-authored a book that has been extremely helpful to me in RECLAIMING the Judaism that was lost to my family. If you truly care about the future of Judaism you will not put up obstacles to reverse-assimilation.

    Comment by Sara — April 19, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

  3. thank you sara. I really appreciate the support and the recognition of the work we are doing.

    Comment by Rabbi Kerry Olitzky — April 19, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

  4. Thank YOU for building bridges. Reconnecting with Judaism is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I couldn’t do it without an open door.

    Comment by Sara — April 20, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

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