The Jewish Daily Forward: 50 most influential Jews in America PDF Print E-mail
Pessimists have been warning for decades that as younger generations of Jews continued their acculturation into the American mainstream, those at the leading edge of the drift would float away from Jewish identity, leaving a smaller but more committed core. Optimists, if that's the right word, predicted that the younger, more acculturated Jews wouldn't disappear from the scene; rather, their Jewish identities would evolve in new and unpredictable ways, leaving the Jewish community as many small communities, with less and less identifiably in common.

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. The list that emerged from our efforts reflects that changing topography.

The Forward 50 is not based on a scientific study or survey. The list is compiled each year by the Forward's staff, based on what we have reported over the past year, what we have heard from community members speaking about other community members and whatever objective signposts ― rising or falling budgets, book sales, published buzz, adoption of new laws or proposals ― can be deemed to indicate public influence.