Newsweek magazine has chosen to go into the "rabbi ranking" business and has listed their top fifty rabbis in America. I guess if Forbes Magazine can rank businesses and billionaires, why shouldn't there be a list of Holy Rollers? Newsweek explains their process for ranking these spiritual leaders in an article posted on their website today.
The background of the list:
Last fall, Sony Pictures CEO and Chairman Michael Lynton got together with his good friends and fellow power brokers Gary Ginsberg, of Newscorp., and Jay Sanderson, of JTN Productions and started working on a list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America. They had a scoring system: Are the rabbis known nationally/internationally? (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.) Do they have political/social influence? (20 points.) Have they made an impact on Judaism in their career? (10 points.) Have they made a "greater" impact? (10 points.) This system, though helpful, is far from scientific; the men revised and rejiggered their list for months, and all three concede that the result is subjective.
Here is the list of America's Top Ten Rabbis (the complete list is here):
1. Marvin Hier (Orthodox) Hier is one phone call away from almost every world leader, journalist and
2. Yehuda Krinsky (Lubavitch)
Krinsky has truly built a shul on every corner and brought the Chabad movement mainstream prominence. He is the leader of Chabad and its CEO.
3. Uri D. Herscher (Reform) Herscher has built arguably
4. Yehuda Berg (Orthodox) Berg has made wearing the red string a popular phenomena in
5. Harold Kushner (Conservative) Kushner has written nine inspirational books including the international best seller that helped millions grapple with "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." He is one of
6. David Ellenson (Reform) Ellenson is a trailblazer committed to bringing this generation’s Reform Jewish rabbis and teachers closer to traditional Judaism. He is the president of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
7. Robert Wexler (Conservative) Wexler has re-envisioned Jewish education and created the largest Jewish continuing-education program in
8. Irwin Kula (Conservative) Kula is committed to “taking Jewish public” and reshaping
9. Shmuley Boteach (Orthodox) Boteach has been called “the most famous rabbi in
10. M. Bruce Lustig (Reform) Each year on Yom Kippur, Lustig has an audience that even the president of the