No Philadelphia rabbis landed a spot on the Forward’s list of "Most Inspiring" rabbis, though two local religious leaders did make The Daily Beast’s list of most influential rabbis. What gives?
No Philadelphia rabbis landed a spot on the Forward’s new list of America's "Most Inspiring" rabbis, though two local religious leaders did make The Daily Beast’s annual list of the 50 most influential rabbis.
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky, the 88-year-old head of the Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, came in at number 20, up one spot from last year, when he placed 21st on the list.
The influential Orthodox rabbi advises the umbrella group Agudath Israel of America. Last August, he spoke to a 90,000 mostly Orthodox Jews at the New Jersey stadium that is home to the New York Jets and Giants upon the completion of the seven-and a half-year Talmud study cycle.
The Daily Beast article also stated that he has made some controversial comments about gays, arguing that homosexuals should undergo “reparative therapy.”
At the liberal end of the religious spectrum, Rabbi Dan Ehrenkrantz, a regular on the list, came in at number 33, down from 17 last year.
Just last month Ehrenkrantz announced he was planning to step down as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the institution he has led since 2002. Ehrenkrantz has overseen a merger between RRC and the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation and helped raise $50 million for the college.
While no Philadelphia rabbis made the Forward’s list — which was generated by recommendations from readers — a recent resident of the area was cited. Rabbi Shira Stutman, a graduate of RRC, led a local congregation, Kesher Shalom and worked at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia before leaving the area several years ago. She’s now the religious leader of the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C.
A reader stated on the Forward’s website that Stutman has built a congregation that is “thriving, innovative and almost entirely filled with Jews in their 20s and 30s. She’s the exactly right rabbi at the exact right time.”