Wolpe heads ‘Newsweek’’s list of 50 top rabbis

Conservative rabbi unseats Chabad movement leader Yehuda Krinsky, who held the top slot for last two years.

April 3, 2012 05:27
1 minute read.
Rabbi David Wolpe

Rabbi David Wolpe 370. (photo credit: Facebook)


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WASHINGTON – Conservative Rabbi David Wolpe heads the annual list of America’s top 50 rabbis put out by Newsweek Monday.

Wolpe, who moved up from the number two spot last year, heads the largest Conservative congregation on the West Coast and has played a prominent public role defending faith nationwide, is followed by Chabad movement leader Yehuda Krinsky, who held the top slot for two years before being bumped for Wolpe.

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Next comes Peter Rubinstein – who played a crucial political role mediating between the Occupy Wall Street protesters and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office – from his post at Manhattan’s Central Synagogue and four other Reform leaders scattered among the top dozen.

The list mostly contains the same names as in previous years, with Orthodox rabbi and best-selling author Shmuley Boteach experiencing the biggest fall – from 11th place last year to 30th in the current standings. The drop comes as he has arguably raised his profile significantly by entering the race for a New Jersey congressional seat, though could be due to the negative publicity Newsweek cites from a Forward examination of public records finding that his charity spends significant amounts of its revenue on Boteach himself and his family.

The eight newcomers, in order of their rankings, are Orthodox Rabbi Shmuel Goldin; haredi Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky; Reform Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman; Conservative Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove; Modern Orthodox Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz; Reform Rabbi Micah Greenstein; and Reform Rabbi Rachel Cowan.

The list was compiled by Gary Ginsberg, executive vice president of Time Warner Inc., Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Corporation of America, former 60 Minutes producer Abigail Pogrebin and researcher Raphael Magarik.

The explanation of their criteria begins by noting that the list is subjective and concludes by noting that “if a rabbi was dropped from the list, it isn’t necessarily because we deemed that person unworthy but because we want to make room for fresh voices.”


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