The Forward 50, Moving Backwards

I just had the opportunity to briefly review the Forward 50, which is their annual list of “Jewish leaders.” Their top “Five Who Mattered” are perhaps indicative of the contents: the head of a major Israel advocacy organization, at least in part “because frankly it’s a field that has been dominated by men;” an Arizona Congresswoman, primarily because she was shot and survived; the new President of the Union for Reform Judaism, with “a long history of activism,” but no mention of the nature of his activism; the new poet laureate of the United States; and finally, a professional baseball player.

While they comment about the paucity of women on the list, they don’t comment on a far more striking absence of Orthodox Jews. While the Forward referred to activism “challenging the hegemony of rabbinic leadership in ultra-Orthodox enclaves,” the only obviously Orthodox Jew I found was notable for his efforts against Sharia law, rather than anyone who could be noted for his contributions to understanding Jewish law.

Their extra person, not Jewish, for the year? Barack Obama. I saw it coming, but I didn’t expect it to be so soon or so blatant.

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11 Responses

  1. Shanks says:

    “…the only obviously Orthodox Jew I found…”
    I just glanced at the list, but you missed Rabbi Shmuel Goldin. He’s the president of the RCA.

  2. David F. says:

    Absolutely classic. These lists are notable only in that they display how utterly out-of-touch a mag like the Forward is with traditional Jewish values and why it need not ever be brought into one’s home. There is virtually nothing of any enduring value to found within its pages.

  3. Baal Habos says:

    You make a valid point, an example of not giving due recognition. Ironically, it brings to mind a tidbit that I read in the Jewish Observer in one of it’s last published issues. I don’t recall the exact words, but the gist of the item bemoaned the fact that Einstein’s talents were wasted on physics and who knows what great contributions Einstein could have brough to learning (even possibly a new derech in learning) had he put his efforts into Torah. So perhaps this is payback. This is what the Torah world gets for it’s withdrawl from the Jewish world at large and dismissal of secular achievements.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    When, in its long, dishonorable history in two languages, was the Forward ever good for the Jews? Why waste time reporting its latest foolishness?

  5. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    The list includes James Levine and Michael Tilson Thomas, two classical conductors who have never done anything for Jewish life anywhere! In fact, Levine reportedly conducted performances on Rosh HaShanna or Yom Kippur. How can either of these two be called Jewish leaders? And by the way, I have nothing against classical music. I’ve been to one NY Philharmonic concert since September, have tickets for 2 more, and tickets for 2 other events.

  6. ARW says:

    I would be curious ot know how many of these 50 people are Halachicly Jewish. Two of the tope five have Jewish fathers but non-Jewish mothers.

  7. cohen y says:

    Nothing new.
    2 millenia ago, Philo wrote in Conta Apion, the reason jews got short thrift in the news and books, was because instead of making “splashes” they were quietly ‘facts on the ground’.

    Baal Habos,
    R’YK said the same (as JO) at a Bar Mitzvah.

  8. Nachum says:

    cohen y, Contra Apion was by Josephus. 🙂

  9. Jason says:

    Judy Brown, the author of Hush, is Orthodox. She did something incredibly courageous, and in return received death threats and her book has been banned from all major Jewish bookstores. So much for “admitting we have a problem”.

  10. Mr. Cohen says:

    It amazes me that Jews who claim to be Orthodox continue to read Orthodox-bashing garbage like The Jewish Week and The Forward. The excuses they give are so illogical that it makes me lose respect for them.

  11. Raymond says:

    The fact that Barack Obama is on such a list, is enough for me to know that it lacks any and all credibility, just as the Nobel Prize for Peace has long ago lost all its meaning, due to it being awarded to people such as Yasar Arafat and Barack Obama. Let’s face it, the gentile world continues to have little or no understanding of our traditional Jewish world.

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