The 50 most influential rabbis (maybe)

How do you compile a list of the 50 most influential rabbis in America? You start with the CEO of Sony Pictures.

Newsweek today released such a “list,”: explaining that it started coming together when “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 (Jewish Television Network).”

There is a “Jews in Hollywood” joke here somewhere…

Anyway, the moguls took several factors into consideration, including each rabbi’s media presence (of course), influence in their own movement and the larger Jewish world, their impact so far, etc.

Even though the list is completely subjective, I bet that those on it will be citing it for a long time.

Atop the list is Rabbi Marvin Hier (that’s him), founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (and apparently well connected in Hollywood).

The rest of the Top 10:

2. Yehuda Krinsky, head of the Chabad Lubavitch.

3. Uri Herscher, founder of the Skirball Cultural Center in LA (West Coast bias?).

4. Yehuda Berg, the Kabbalah guru.

5. Harold Kushner, beloved, inspirational writer.

6. David Ellenson, president of the Reform seminary.

7. Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism.

8. Irwin Kula, author and co-president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

9. Shmuley Boteach, author and TV reality guy.

10. M. Bruce Lustig, rabbi of the largest congregation in Washington.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.