Jewish Journal


November 29, 2007

Only a few left-coasters make ‘Forward 50’


Best-of lists are often in the eyes of the beholder. Last year, when Newsweek published America's 50 most influential rabbis, Simon Wiesenthal's Rabbi Marvin Hier was number one, with 10 other local rabbis on the list. Go figure -- since the list was the brainchild of Angelenos Jay Sanderson, CEO of Jewish TV Network; Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony; and Gary Ginsberg, an executive at News Corp.

So it should be no surprise that when the New York-based, albeit national, newspaper, The Forward, published its Forward 50 -- naming its version of this year's most influential Jews -- only six hail from Los Angeles. Does it matter where they're from?

"This year's Forward 50 list shows what look to us, at least, like clear signs of continental drift. When we sat down to take a long look at the community, what we found was not a hardening core surrounded by an evanescent periphery, but numerous pockets of identity taking shape on the landscape, most showing clear signs of solidity, but most quite disconnected from -- even unaware of -- the others," they write on the Forward's Web site.

The six Angelenos are:

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles)
Waxman, 68, represents a broad swath of western Los Angeles County, from Chatsworth to the Fairfax District. This year he became chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the principal investigative committee in the House, on which he has served since 1997. He is also a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Jimmy Jamshid Delshad
The top Iranian-American public official, Delshad, 67, became mayor of Beverly Hills in March after service first as a City Councilman and then vice mayor of the city.

Roz Rothstein (co-listed with Charles Jacobs).
Rothstein, 55, is national director of the Los Angeles-based StandWithUs.

Boruch Shlomo Cunin
Director of the West Coast Chabad-Lubavitch, Cunin, 67, has been California's top Chabad leader since 1965.

Laura Geller
Synagogue greening and female rabbi "trailblazer," Geller, 57, has been senior rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills for 13 years.

Robert Wexler
In March, Wexler, 56, oversaw the merger of the University of Judaism with the Brandeis-Bardin Institute, creating the new American Jewish University. During his tenure as AJU president, he has increased the student population to 10,000 and grown the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies.

To read more about Newsweek's list, visit http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=17426.
To read more about The Forward's list, visit http://www.forward.com/forward-50.

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