Newsweek’s List Of Top 50 Rabbis

Rabbi Joshua Strulowitz responds to my email inquiry: “I struggle with this list, some of it I can’t relate to. I don’t really have a feel for how much power and influence Krinsky has. Every Chabad seems to be an independent entity. There is clearly a central office, but there are also clearly many “unauthorized” Chabad Houses. I may be biased, but I think that YCT is given much more standing than YU/OU. YCT graduates eight Rabbis a year, YU usually has between 40-50. If Dov Linzer is there than why not Yonah Riess, the head of YU’s Semicha program? Plus, YU has an entire undergraduate program and numerous graduate programs. Where is Kenny Brander and JJ Schachter from YU? Or Steve Berg and Steve Weil from the OU? Plus, Efram Goldberg was the Rabbi who spoke at the most prominent AIPAC slot, where is he? As far as Rav Herschel Schacter, he clearly is the most prominent voice as a YU Posek, but it is pretty murky as there are many YU Poskim, such as Rav Willig. I also think they were unfair to Rav Kamenetsky. I’ve spoken to him and asked him Shaylos, and he is a very worldly and understanding person-they make him sound like a neanderthal. As a whole I think the Yeshivish world is underrepresented. No one from Lakewood or Neir Yisrael? I think the people who make this list don’t really have a sophisticated understanding of the Yeshivish world.”

Historian Marc B. Shapiro responded to my inquiry: “I am not sure what they mean by “important”. Is important the same as influential? They have many of the big ones, but are also missing some. How about the Satmar Rebbes, who have a very large following. I think R. Herschel Schachter has to be at the top of the list if we want to know who is the most influential Orthodox in the Orthodox world. However, he doesn’t have influence in the Jewish community at large, while Krinsky, Hier et al do.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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