Who are the nation’s 50 most influential Jews? The Forward has published this year’s list — they call it the Forward 50. But what does it mean? What is an “influential Jew”? Is it the same as someone who wields influence Jewishly, based on Jewish values? Is it someone who has influence over Jews? Does anyone make these distinctions?
As I read the list, I wonder if it’s even an appropriate endevour. Is this a manifestation of appropriate ethnic-religious pride or an example of some wierd tribalism that simply enjoys that “one of ours” has made the headlines?
Do other religious groups make lists like this? Where are they found?
What is the relationship between ethics and ethnicity? How does any group balabce it’s committment to itself and its committment to others? This cut to the very heart of the celelbration of Jewish Peoplehood, a concept that I do support. On the other hand, if a group is simply about its own perpetuation, do they really need to exist?
What do you think?
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About Windows & DoorsAuthor, radio and TV talk show host, and President of CLAL-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, Brad Hirschfield is the author of You Don’t Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism. Listed as one of the nation’s 50 most influential rabbis in Newsweek, and a regular commentator on Court TV, he is the creator of the popular series, Building Bridges, airing on Bridges TV, and the co-host of the weekly radio show, Hirschfield and Kula.
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