'The Jerusalem Post's' top 50 most influential Jews of 2014

This year’s list features politicians, rabbis and researchers, human rights activists and philanthropists, entrepreneurs and entertainers from Israel and around the world.

'The Jerusalem Post's' Top 50 most influential Jews (photo credit: Courtesy)
'The Jerusalem Post's' Top 50 most influential Jews
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Welcome to The Jerusalem Post’s annual Shavuot list of the world’s 50 most influential Jews! The point of putting together such a list is to recognize the achievements of our tribe across the world, people who in one way or another have worked tirelessly for the improvement of humanity and, in doing so, have made their mark on history.
Talent and the ability to use it for the greater good are not necessarily Jewish traits, but Jews have certainly contributed enormously in a variety of fields around the globe – not only in Israel.
'The Jerusalem Post's' top 50 most influential Jews of: 1-10
'The Jerusalem Post's' top 50 most influential Jews of: 11-20
'The Jerusalem Post's' top 50 most influential Jews of: 21-30
'The Jerusalem Post's' top 50 most influential Jews of: 31-40
'The Jerusalem Post's' top 50 most influential Jews of: 41-50
Before the creation of the Jewish state, in the throes of rampant anti-Semitism and horrors of the Holocaust, it would have been unthinkable to put together such a list. But today, thanks in great part to the strength and stature of Israel and the unprecedented freedom that Jews enjoy in the United States and elsewhere, there has been a Jewish renaissance.
Rising anti-Semitism in Europe is a worrying trend, and it is especially important that prominent Jews with influence in Europe are supported in their struggle against this phenomenon.
Still, it is an indisputable fact that Jews have brought immense value and worth to the family of nations in every conceivable sphere, as evidenced by the inordinate number of Jews who have won Nobel prizes.
This year’s list exemplifies that diversity. It features politicians, of course, but also rabbis and researchers, human rights activists and philanthropists, entrepreneurs and entertainers.
Unlike the previous two years, when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid respectively held the No. 1 spot, our list this year is headed by US Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew, who in his position in the cabinet is vital to shaping President Barack Obama’s policy. And following closely behind Lew at No. 2 is Janet Yellen, another American Jew who made history this year when she became the first woman ever appointed chair of the Federal Reserve.
Yellen is one of 15 women on the list. This is the same figure as last year, although, with the exception of Shari Arison, Lena Dunham and Ephrat Levy-Lahad, they are different women.
Israel’s importance in the world comes into play with the third and fourth spots, occupied by Netanyahu and outgoing President Shimon Peres respectively, as well as the seventh, ninth and 10th places filled by Avigdor Liberman, Lapid and Naftali Bennett.
In fifth place is the powerful American billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, followed by American Jewish leader Malcolm Hoenlein. A new addition to the Top 10 is Adina Bar-Shalom, daughter of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who has established herself as a leader in her own right.
Putting together a list of the 50 most influential Jews is a subjective exercise by nature, and requires both juggling and diplomacy. There are good reasons to put certain people on and leave others off, but any decision is bound to cause some waves. It was our intent to offer some new names that have not appeared on our lists before and to honor several of those previously named who have continued to exert influence within their realm.
Why is someone in the Top 20 and another worthy inclusion only in the 40s? It’s often less an indication of their merit than of an attempt to vary the list between young and veteran, male and female, positions of supreme importance and pop-culture icons.
Have we left important people off the list? Of course.
They include several prominent writers for this newspaper, whom we disqualified because we don’t want to be accused of promoting ourselves. Have we included some whose presence might be considered controversial? Yes, again. And the fact that they’ve been included does not mean we support their views. Rather, we have endeavored to present a balanced list of Jews from across the world and the political spectrum.
It is our fervent hope that we have given our readers something to talk about, ponder and debate over the Shavuot holiday. If we’ve added some more information and possibly some inspiration to your holiday reading, then we have achieved our goal.
The Jerusalem Post's  Top 50 Most Influential Jews of 2014  list:
1. Jack Lew
2. Janet Yellen
3. Binyamin Netanyahu
4. Shimon Peres
5. Sheldon Adelson
6 Malcolm Hoenlein
7. Avigdor Liberman
8. Adina Bar-Shalom
9. Yair Lapid
10. Naftali Bennett
11. Elie Wiesel
12. Ronald Lauder
13 Steven Spielberg
14. Stanley Fischer
15. Shari Arison
16. Rabbi Yechiel Z. Eckstein
17. Tzipi Livni
18. Scarlett Johansson
19. Isaac Herzog
20. Ed Miliband
21. Yosef Abramowitz
22. Lynn Schusterman
23. Matthew Bronfman
24. Karnit Flug
25. Joseph Gitler
Interview with Joseph Gitler
26. Nir Barkat
27. Natalie Portman
28. Nitsana Darshan-Leitner
29. Irwin Cotler
30. Jeremy Ben-Ami
31. Moshe Kantor
Interview with Moshe Kantor
32. Hershey Friedman
33. Ephrat Levy-Lahad
34. Ephraim Mirvis
35. Jonathan Sacks
36. Abe Foxman
37. Idan Raichel
First person with Idan Raichel
38. Lena Dunham
39. George Soros
40. Vladimir Sloutsker
41. Benny Gantz
42. Daniel Gordis
43. Ester Rada
44. Raphael Mechoulam
45. Dalia Dorner
46. Ofra Strauss
47. Chaim Chesler
48. David Golinkin
49. Marcie Natan
50. Mark Leibler