Adelson, Raisman in top 5 on Forward 50 list of influential Jewish Americans


(JTA) — The Jewish Daily Forward’s annual list of the 50 most influential Jewish Americans featured Republican Party mega-donor Sheldon Adelson and Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman in the top 5.

Joining Adelson and the gold-medal winning Raisman in the top 5 of the Forward 50 were composer Philip Glass, TV star Lena Dunham and Agudath Israel of America Executive Vice President Rabbi David Zweibel. The top 5 had video profiles rolled out daily beginning last week.

The full list was published online Monday.  It included Jewish heavyweights in politics and the entertainment industry, but also some more unusual choices.

The most read profile, according to Forward editor Jane Eisner, was of Hindy Poupko Galena, a New York mother who blogged about her baby daughter’s struggle against a fatal disease, prompting an outpouring of support through cyberspace.

The other most popular profiles included Bessie Shemtov, founder of the Friendship Circle, which links volunteers with disabled children and has grown from a single chapter in Detroit to a nationwide movement; and Michael Uram, the Hillel rabbi at the University of Pennsylvania who led a successful response to the first-ever campus conference advocating the controversial BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement against Israel; and Andy Bachman, the rabbi of a Reform congregation in Brooklyn who has led a religious revitalization.

Others featured in the Forward 50 included Open Zion website editor Peter Beinart; scientist Maria Chudnovsky; U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader in the House of Representatives; New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren; and singer Barbra Streisand.

Eisner noted with pride the increased number of women and girls featured on the list. 

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