America's 50 most influential rabbis have been named, and a varied list of names it is, indeed. According to Sony Pictures CEO Michael Lynton, Newscorp's Gary Ginsberg and Jay Sanderson of JTN Productions, who published the admittedly subjective ranking in this week's issue of Newsweek, the USA's top rabbi is Orthodox - Simon Wiesenthal Center founder Rabbi Marvin Hier heads the list. Hier is followed by Lubavitch leader Yehuda Krinsky, who is credited with having "built a shul on every corner." Other top scorers include Orthodox Kabbala rabbi Yehuda Berg, Conservative author Rabbi Harold Kushner and "Shalom in the Home" host Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The trio's scoring system was based on several questions:
Are the rabbis known nationally/internationally?
Do they have a media presence?
Are they leaders within their communities?
Are they considered leaders in Judaism or their movements?
How big is their constituency?
Do they have political/social influence?
Have they made an impact on Judaism in their career?
Have they made a "greater" impact?
Based on these criteria - which the three compilers confessed was not scientific - the final ranking included 18 Reform rabbis, 15 Orthodox rabbis, 10 Conservative rabbi, three Reconstructionist rabbis, two Renewal rabbis, one Lubavitch rabbi, and one Hasidic rabbi.
The complete list of America's 50 most influential rabbis can be found on the Newsweek website.