Never met him. I've heard good things, for what it's worth.
13. Yehuda Berg (2008 Ranking #11) Berg is the world's most popular authority on the Kabbalah.
Give me a break.
14. Norman Lamm (2008 Ranking #43) Lamm is Chancellor of Yeshiva University.
Still fighting the ultra-reactionaries on the Orthodox right, from what I hear.
15. Joseph Telushkin (2008 Ranking #21) Telushkin is a best-selling author and speaker.
Writes very accessible books. He taught my Torah studies class once. Very amusing storyteller.
16. J. Rolando Matalon (2008 Ranking #13) Matalon is the spiritual leader of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun.
One of the greats. Helped make B'nai Jeshurun, which was near death, into one of the most dynamic houses of worship in America. Also, world center of Jewish dating. Too much dancing in the aisles for my taste, though.
17. Menchem Genack (NEW) Genack is the CEO of the Orthodox Union's Kosher Division.
This is a tough job these days. Don't know him.
18. Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus (NEW) Dreyfus is the new head of the CCAR.
Also don't know her.
19. Jeffrey Wohlberg (2008 Ranking #18) Wohlberg is Rabbi at Washington, D.C.'s Adas Israel Congregation.
Huh? Wohlberg retired last year. I should know; this is my shul. He's still a major macher (president of the Rabbinical Assembly), but Gil Steinlauf is now the Adas rabbi, and the early returns are all positive.
20. Steve Gutow (NEW) Gutow is the CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
Not the most relevant Jewish organization in America, IMHO.
21. Harold M. Schulweis (2008 Ranking #19) Schulweis is considered the leading Conservative Rabbi of his generation and the Founder of Jewish World Watch.
I'm always suspicious of people "considered' to be the leading anything.
22. Haskel Lookstein (2008 Ranking #22) Lookstein is head of New York's Ramaz School and Rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun.
Could play a rabbi on TV he's such a rabbi.
23. Dan Ehrenkrantz (2008 Ranking #20) Ehrenkrantz is the President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
One day someone will finally explain Reconstructionist Judaism to me. One of my neighbors is a Reconstructionist rabbi, so I should probably just ask.
24. Michael Greenbaum (2008 Ranking #37) Greenbaum is Vice Chancellor and COO of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Very good scholar of the Conservative movement.
25. Sharon Kleinbaum (2008 Ranking #17) Kleinbaum is the Senior Rabbi of New York's synagogue for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews.
I once profiled her, before she was a "senior" rabbi. An excellent pastor to people with AIDS, I remember.
26. M. Bruce Lustig (2008 Ranking #24) Lustig is the leader of Washington Hebrew Congregation, the largest congregation in Washington, D.C.
Bruce's son and my daughter are in the same grade, same (non-Jewish) school. When my daughter portrayed Hanna Senesh in a guess-what-historical-figure-I-am project, Bruce was the only parent to guess correctly. It wouldn't have reflected well on Washington Hebrew if he hadn't.