Thursday, November 14th | 16 Heshvan 5780

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The Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life, 2019

In honor of The Algemeiner’s sixth annual gala, we are delighted to unveil our sixth ‘J100’ list of the top one hundred individuals who have positively influenced Jewish life this past year. Before you work your way through this exciting list, we wanted to first share some of the thoughts that we discussed as we developed it. If we could group these ideas together, the first would be about creating lists, in general; then, what’s unique about lists and Judaism; some finer points differentiating our honorees from the organizations they lead; and important reflections on all those every day and anonymous-to-us heroes we also want to celebrate without ever knowing their names. And, of course, to thank everyone who helped create the list and worked hard to put together our J100 gala. 

On Lists

There are lists, and there are lists. From the Forbes 400 to the Time 100, we are witness today to a proliferation of many lists in various magazines and newspapers. The New Yorker even made a list of The Hundred Best Lists of All Time! It seems that in the feeding frenzy of our information overloaded society, categorizations and listings get our attention by presumably helping us make sense of the data flooding our psyches. Lists also carry an element of sensationalism – who made the list, who didn’t – feeding the hunger for competition – yet another staple of our superficial times. No wonder we don’t find such popularity contests waged in earlier centuries; living as desert nomads or inside of a shtetl, where everyone knew virtually no one else but their neighbors by name (for good or for bad), did not exactly lend itself to creating a top ten list of favorites. This is an exclusive product of the communications revolution and the global village it created.

Jewish Lists

Jewish sages, in particular, did not create such lists. Indeed, some actually dismissed the categorization of lists (even of the 13 Principles of Faith of Maimonides, let alone of a list of the “best” one thing or another…). It begs the uneasy question of how one can even attempt to measure the value of a person? Isn’t everyone a hero in some way? On what grounds can we presume to judge who is more valuable then the next? With the J100 list we tried to create something more meaningful, a list aligned with our core mission: the 100 people who have the most positive impact on Jewish life and Israel – men and women, Jew or non-Jew, who have lifted the quality of Jewish life in the past year. Think of it this way: Without these J100 – either the individuals or the organizations they represent – Jewish life would not be at the caliber it is today. Despite the artificial, superficial, and sensational nature of any list, we sought to transform the information deluge of our times by using the list to shine a spotlight on those gems in our midst, those people who are making a real difference in others’ lives.

We also seek to inspire and motivate our young and the next generation, our future emerging leaders, in rising to the occasion and perpetuating the highest standards of our proud tradition and legacy – in serving and championing the cause of Jews and Israel. Because, as we know, when the quality of Jewish life is raised, the quality of all lives is raised. However, the most exciting part of our work in choosing the J100, frankly, was sifting through hundreds of candidates and nominees to discover some surprising finalists. It was a joy to see the breadth of all those who merited a mention, to understand some of the great work being performed around the world on behalf of the Jewish people, and to celebrate their victories by bringing this great work to renewed public attention via this endeavor.

Individual vs. Organization

Inevitably, any list recognizing those that have positively influenced Jewish life will include the “usual suspects,” well-known leaders and officials of governments, organizations, and institutions. Like it or not, bureaucracy is part of the fabric of our society, feeding and supporting Jewish life around the globe, and it is that fabric that provides strength and cohesion to our disparate Jewish population.

Not all the names on the J100 were included for the same reason. Some are being honored for their personal contributions, others for their work at the organizations or nations they head. Some on the J100 are long established stars, others newcomers.

Like in any dynamic entity, we included both stalwart leaders with deep roots holding the foundation, while also introducing new branches that will lead us into the future.

This type of list – “The top 100 people positively influencing Jewish life” – has its inherent challenges. First, what defines “positive”? What some consider positive, others consider destructive. Jews notoriously disagree on what positive impact means. Fully cognizant of the controversy such a list could stir, we approached the creation of this list with a particular strategy, infused with a sense of humility and respect, to be as all-inclusive as possible while maintaining our integrity. This list should not be seen as an endorsement of anyone or any entity and way of thinking; rather, the people on this list are a reflection of the rich and broad spectrum of Jewish life – those who have positively contributed and helped shape the Jewish future.

We want this list to not be a definitive one, but a type of snapshot and perspective of the Jewish world today. The J100 is far from perfect – but which list of this type would not be? Rather, we want it to serve as a provocateur, challenging us all to think about what we value and consider precious; what we honor as being a positive influence on Jewish life and on Israel.

Anonymous Heroes

Jewish life, now and throughout history, is fraught with innumerable heroes – mostly unsung. A mother unceremoniously bringing up a beautiful family. A quiet nurse attending to the ill. An anonymous philanthropist sending food packages to the needy. The unobtrusive kindergarten teacher lovingly attending to and shaping young lives. Positive influences abound, yet few are called out.

Moreover, the Jewish community is decentralized. A leader in one city or town who has a major impact on their community may be completely irrelevant in another city. No list – not of 100, not of 1,000 – could capture and do justice to the countless daily acts of heroism and nobility impacting Jews and Israel.

There are innumerable rabbis, lay leaders, educators, and administrators who are beloved and are transforming their Jewish communities. As important as these individuals may be – and they certainly deserve their own list – the J100 does not include these heroes. Instead it focuses on individuals that have global and international impact, and that come from diverse groups – such as writers, teachers, government officials, and NGOs. In some ways, the J100 should be looked at not as a bunch of disjointed individuals, but as a mosaic – a confluence of many different colors and hues that create a diverse painting.

Thank You

In the spirit of The Algemeiner, we want this list to lift the quality of our discourse and standards in seeking out the best within and among us. We hope you enjoy reviewing and studying this list, and we welcome all your feedback, critiques, and suggestions to be included next year, in what has become a tradition at our annual New York gala event.

We extend our deep gratitude to our J100 honorees and special guests, to those who support this great institution, and ultimately to our readers, the Jewish people, and friends of the Jewish people whom we serve.

Disclosure: Algemeiner staff and their immediate families were disqualified for inclusion on the list. Some of the J100 finalists are friends and associates of The Algemeiner. As a media entity with many relationships, The Algemeiner inevitably has many friends and supporters; yet we didn’t feel it fair to disqualify highly qualified candidates simply due to their connection with us. Instead, fully cognizant of that reality, we placed special emphasis on impartiality and objectivity to choose only those who fit the criteria.

— The Algemeiner editors

1 .

Donna Robinson Divine

Professor, Smith College

Donna Robinson Divine, professor emerita at Smith College, was one of the guest editors of a special summer issue of Israel Studies, where she addressed the need to reclaim the language of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “How the change [in attitudes toward Israel] took hold in academia is best understood by focusing on the vocabulary that purports to show why the establishment of a Jewish state was an international crime that can only be undone by taking command of the language deployed to study Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians,” Divine wrote. While some critics questioned the quality of the journal’s scholarship, the issue’s editors and contributors defended its content and said the controversy was fueled in large part by academics who are sympathetic to Israel boycotts. Divine, who is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, and Turkish, also served as president of the Association for Israel Studies from 2017-2019 and as an adjunct professor at Israel's University of Haifa. (Photo: Courtesy)

ACADEMIA

2 .

Günther Jikeli

Professor, Indiana University in Bloomington

Günther Jikeli, born and educated in Germany and now a professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, conducts what may be some of the most crucial research of the post-World War II era on the persistence of antisemitism. Through a rapidly growing database of one-on-one interviews, as well as thousands of social media posts collected by his research team, Jikeli assembles his raw material directly from antisemites. He is then able to study the formation, evolution, and influence of these attitudes -- a mission of particular import today, as the world experiences an uptick in animus toward Jews. He was recently named the inaugural Ena B. Rosenfeld Professor at the university’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and has written extensively on European Muslim antisemitism. (Photo: Michaelangelo’s Photography)

ACADEMIA

3 .

The work of Jacques Gauthier, an international jurist and Canadian lawyer, is as valuable as ever, especially as anti-Israel sentiment surges worldwide. An expert on the status of Jerusalem and Israel, Gauthier continues to speak publicly about the importance of Israel’s legal rights. He has argued powerfully that those in the United States and in the global community who claim that Israel has no legal titles to its land are relying on a false historical assumption. “It is absolutely vital to counter the generally accepted narrative that Israel’s presence and claims in Jerusalem violate international law,” he said at a recent event. “The historical truths undergirding the legitimacy of Israel’s sovereignty claims must be presented as effectively as possible.” (Photo: JBS / Screenshot)

ACADEMIA

4 .

Aaron Lipskar and Zvi Boyarsky

Leadership, The Aleph Institute

Rabbis Aaron Lipskar and Zvi Boyarsky belong to the stellar leadership team of The Aleph Institute, a non-profit Jewish organization dedicated to assisting and caring for specific populations that are isolated from the regular community, including US military personnel, prisoners, and people institutionalized or at risk of incarceration due to mental illness or addictions. Rabbi Lipskar serves as Aleph’s executive VP/Director. He oversees all aspects of the organization, including program development and government relations. He received his rabbinical ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Rabbi Boyarsky serves as Aleph’s director of constitutional advocacy. Originally from Montreal, he received his ordination at the Rabbinical College of America, Lubavitch. (Photo: The Aleph Institute / Screenshot)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

5 .

Beate and Serge Klarsfeld

Human rights activists

Serge Klarsfeld, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust in Romania, married his German wife, Beate, in Paris in 1962, sealing a partnership for justice that continues to this day. As human rights activists, the Klarsfelds have played a major role over several decades in bringing to trial German and French Nazi war criminals such as Klaus Barbie, Paul Touvier, and Maurice Papon. They both understood the threat from anti-Zionism early on, confronting the antisemitic demonization of Israel pushed by the Soviet Union and the Palestine Liberation Organization. In 2018, their joint memoir Hunting the Truth was published to wide acclaim, winning the Jewish Book of the Year Award from the Jewish Book Council. (Photo: Klarsfeld Foundation / CC BY 3.0)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

6 .

Daniel Mead

Police officer

On the terrible morning of October 29, 2018, when a white supremacist shooter murdered 11 people attending Shabbat services at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, local police officer Daniel Mead was the first to arrive at the scene. He confronted the shooter as he attempted to leave the synagogue, forcing him to retreat back inside, where he eventually surrendered. In the process, Mead came face-to-face with the shooter, who fired at him through a glass door, badly wounding him in the hand. Hailed for his bravery in the aftermath of the shooting, Mead’s sister Diane said that she'd asked him, “Dan, do you understand that you’re a national hero?" Replied her brother: "I’m just Danny Mead from Brookline.” Mead is now undergoing therapy to regain the use of his hand, with a GoFundMe page aiming to raise $50,000 towards his medical expenses. (Photo: GoFundMe / Screenshot)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

7 .

Haim Shani

Businessman

One of the true pioneers of Israel’s dynamic technology sector, Haim Shani is the co-founder of Israel Growth Partners, a venture that provides capital and strategic guidance to Israeli tech entrepreneurs. During a distinguished 30-year career in business, Shani served for nearly a decade as CEO of Israel’s NICE Systems Ltd., leading the company’s growth from a $100 million business to revenues of more than $700 million. In recognition of his role as head of the UK Israel Tech Hub, which has established partnerships between British and Israeli tech companies valued at more than $1 billion, Shani was awarded with the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in October 2018. (Photo: Reuters / Mal Langsdon)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

8 .

Mark Dubowitz

CEO, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

The chief executive of the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), Mark Dubowitz is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program and the global threat posed by Tehran. He is also widely recognized as one of the key advocates of sanctions policies that seek to counter these threats. As observed by the New York Times, “Dubowitz’s campaign to draw attention to what he saw as the flaws in the Iran nuclear deal has taken its place among the most consequential ever undertaken by a Washington think tank leader.” In August 2019, Iran's Islamist leaders threatened Dubowitz and the FDD with unspecified reprisals for their advocacy, leading the think tank to retort that being targeted by the regime in Tehran was a "badge of honor." (Photo: FDD)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

9 .

Rivka Kidron and Robert Nicholson

Leadership, Passages

Rivka Kidron and Robert Nicholson head up Passages, a program that brings thousands of young Christian leaders to the Jewish state each year, earning it an excellent reputation as the “Christian millennial version of Birthright Israel.” Kidron, who co-founded the organization, got her inspiration for the program when she served as a diaspora and Christian affairs adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Nicholson is the executive director of the Philos Project, an American nonprofit that seeks to promote positive Christian engagement in the Middle East and that sponsors the Passages program. Since its inception in 2015, Passages trips have inspired and educated some 7,000 Christian students from more than 600 colleges and universities with its wide-ranging leadership development and alumni engagement programs. (Photo: Courtesy)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

10 .

Sivan Yaari

Founder and CEO, Innovation: Africa

Sivan Ya’ari is the founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa, a New York-based nonprofit that brings Israeli solar, agricultural and water technologies to rural African villages. Through her work, more than 1 million lives in the most remote villages on the African continent have been impacted, thanks to Israeli innovation. “We are committed to bring water where there is drought, to bring light where there is darkness, to bring hope and dignity where there is despair,” Ya’ari told a conference at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in July 2019. Aside from running Innovation: Africa, Ya'ari is a prominent businesswoman in Israel. iSpa Express, the nail salon chain she founded, was operating in 10 locations and employing 160 female workers throughout Israel when she sold the company in 2018. (Photo: Lior Sperandeo / CC BY-SA 3.0)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

11 .

Yael Eckstein

President, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

One of the world's leading Jewish interfaith activists, in February 2019 Yael Eckstein suddenly found herself taking the helm of the Jerusalem and Chicago-based International Fellowship of Christians and Jews following the tragic death of her father, Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein, its founder and president. Rabbi Eckstein first founded the Fellowship to promote interfaith understanding between Christians and Jews -- a mission his daughter says will remain the organization’s focus. She was already named president-elect in advance of her father’s retirement, which had been set for 2021. Eckstein is currently advocating on behalf Father Vladimir Tobin, a Canadian Eastern Orthodox priest who was removed by church authorities from his church in Halifax after he spoke warmly of the Jewish roots of Christianity and prayed for Israel. “In case you've ever wondered whether the work of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is important, this is exhibit A,” Eckstein said of Father Tobin's cause. (Photo: IFCJ Canada / Screenshot)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

12 .

Yehoshua Bedrick

Director of policy, EdChoice

Yehoshua (Jason) Bedrick is director of policy at EdChoice, an Indiana-based education reform organization. He was formerly a policy analyst with the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. While he was raised in a secular Jewish home in Windham, New Hampshire, he later became religiously observant and had the distinction of being the first Orthodox Jew to hold elective office in New Hampshire when he was elected to serve in the state’s House of Representatives. Bedrick received his master’s degree in public policy, with a focus in education policy, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. (Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

13 .

Yonatan Winetraub

Co-founder, SpaceIL

Yonatan Winetraub, a biophysics graduate student at Stanford University and a co-founder of SpaceIL, stood on the launch site at Cape Canaveral as the organization he co-founded was about to send an Israeli spacecraft to the moon. Winetraub’s team worked with Israeli Aerospace Industries to prepare their lander Beresheet, the Hebrew word for “genesis” or “in the beginning.” While the lander unfortunately crashed, Winetraub said, “It was an amazing experience. The skies went bright yellow-orange, and the moon was just coming up as the rocket flew over the horizon.” He also hopes to influence future generations: “We can do a lot more than land on the moon. We can help inspire kids to be interested in science and engineering. We need their hearts and minds in science, and a moon lander excites them. They know that if they study now, they can build their own rocket one day.” (Photo: NASA Ames Research Center)

ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

14 .

Alyssa Milano

Actress

Award-winning American actress Alyssa Milano is still chalking up the hits, most recently for the Netflix comedies Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later and Insatiable. Away from the screen, Milano is a noted political and social activist who has served causes from AIDS awareness to animal rights. She helped popularize the #MeToo movement in 2017, encouraging women who experienced sexual harassment to speak out publicly. For Milano, there is no contradiction between progressive causes and solidarity with the Jewish community; for that reason, she refused to address the 2019 Women’s March because of the association of its organizers with the antisemitic leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan. “Any time that there is any bigotry or antisemitism, it needs to be called out and addressed,” Milano said. (Photo: Tom Sorensen / CC BY-SA 2.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

15 .

Aviva Kempner

Filmmaker

The award-winning American Jewish filmmaker enjoyed further success in 2019 with the release of her documentary The Spy Behind Home Plate, the extraordinary story of baseball star Moe Berg, who was also a trained lawyer and an agent for the OSS, the US agency tasked with catching Nazi war criminals after the Holocaust. “For decades, different writers and directors have tried to tell the story of the thrilling life of Moe Berg," Kempner said. “I am proud to have made the first fact-based, feature-length documentary that does his life justice.” Her film about Berg follows her 1998 documentary The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the first Jewish baseball star in the Major Leagues who challenged racism and antisemitism inside and outside the park. (Photo: JBS / Screenshot)

ARTS AND CULTURE

16 .

Ben Kingsley

Actor

No stranger to legendary movies with a Jewish theme, Sir Ben Kingsley returned to the screen as Mossad officer Ethan Levin in 2019’s must-see movie about the rescue of Ethiopian Jews, The Red Sea Diving Resort. In a distinguished screen career spanning five decades, Kingsley has often taken on Jewish roles, most memorably as Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List (1993). Other Jewish heroes he has played include Simon Wiesenthal in a 1989 HBO biopic, a role his close friend Wiesenthal urged him to take on, and Otto Frank in a 2002 television adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary. Kingsley is also adept at portraying history’s monsters, giving a chilling portrait of Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Final Solution, in 2018’s Operation Finale. (Photo: Courtesy)

ARTS AND CULTURE

17 .

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez

Singer, former MLB player

Jennifer Lopez appeared to enjoy her August 2019 concert at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park as much as the 57,000 Israelis in attendance, telling the adoring crowd “I love you" in Hebrew to wild applause. That concert took place despite pressure and harassment from the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign for Lopez to withdraw. Instead, the singer faced the Israel-haters down. “There was nothing that was gonna stop us from being in Israel,” Lopez’s manager, Benny Medina, told Israeli television. Accompanying her on the trip was her partner, former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, the Lopez twins, Emme and Max, and Rodriguez’s daughters, Natasha and Ella. The slugger made a point of sharing a photo via Instagram of the two megastars in Israel’s capital. “Jerusalem, you are unforgettable,” A-Rod wrote. (Photo: dvsross / CC BY 2.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

18 .

Julian Edelman

Wide receiver, New England Patriots

They will still be talking about the New England Patriots wide receiver's stellar performance at the 2019 Super Bowl a generation from now. Awarded MVP as the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams to take their sixth Super Bowl title, Edelman distinguished himself by catching 10 passes on 12 targets, for 141 yards. One of the stars of the Patriots team since his Rookie Year in 2009, Edelman is the first Jewish football player to be named as a Super Bowl MVP. Asked by an interviewer to describe his feelings about that honor, a deliriously happy Edelman responded by saying, “It's crazy, it's crazy! L’Chaim!” In June 2019, Edelman and other team members joined Patriots owner Robert Kraft for a visit to Israel. (Photo: Seatacular / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

19 .

Karlie Kloss

Model

Model and Project Runway host Karlie Kloss converted to Judaism before marrying 34-year-old Jewish venture capitalist Joshua Kushner, the younger brother of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to US President Donald Trump. In an extensive 2019 interview with Vogue magazine, she opened up about her new faith, saying, “Some people find grounding through meditation. Some find it through exercise. And to each their own, but for me, Shabbat has brought so much meaning into my life. It helps me reconnect to the actual world.” In the same interview, Kloss emphasized that her conversion came “only after many years of studying and talking with my family and friends and soul searching. … I made the decision to fully embrace Judaism in my life and start planning for a future with the man I chose to marry.” (Photo: Myles Kalus Anak Jihem / CC BY-SA 4.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

20 .

Mariano Rivera

Former MLB player

Since his retirement from Major League Baseball in 2013, New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, who was unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year, has been spending more time on his philanthropic activities. His personal foundation distributes more than $500,000 annually in the US and in Rivera’s native Panama through church-based institutions. A passionate supporter of Israel through his Christian faith, Rivera spoke in July 2019 about his deepening bond with the Jewish state and its people. “As a Christian, I understand that the chosen people of God is Israel — Jewish Israel,” Rivera said in an interview. "The country was made by Him. All the other countries were made by men. This country was built by Him for His people.” (Photo: Keith Allison on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

21 .

Yehonatan Indursky and Ori Elon

Screenwriters and filmmakers

Two of Israel’s hottest television writers, Yehonatan Indursky and Ori Elon are the creative brains behind the hit Netflix series Shtisel, the story of an Orthodox Jewish family living in Jerusalem. Widely praised for its depiction of a group of observant Jews in the Geula neighborhood as regular people who face the common challenges of life, a third season of Shtisel was announced in May 2019. Speaking to the New Yorke magazine about the hit series earlier this year, Indursky emphasized the importance of moving beyond stereotypes. “This outlook that Haredim live in a kind of ghetto and are just waiting for the day they can escape—it’s an occupation fantasy for secular people,” he said. (Photo: n.j - n.j / GFDL)

ARTS AND CULTURE

22 .

It’s been a big year for pop star Pink: she unveiled her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, played to a rapturous crowd at the BRIT Awards and released her eighth album Hurts 2B Human. It’s also been a year where she’s been increasingly open and proud of her Jewish identity. When she was criticized in April for posting a photo showing her two young children running around playfully at Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, she retorted, “These two children are in actuality Jewish, as am I and the entirety of my mother’s family. The very person who constructed this believed in children being children, and to me this is a celebration of life after death. Please keep your hatred and judgment to yourselves.” (Photo: Allison / CC BY-SA 2.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

23 .

Rachel Riley

TV presenter

British actress Tracy Ann Oberman is famous for her role as Chrissie Watts on the renowned BBC series Eastenders, one of the longest running soap operas on British television. An accomplished author and newspaper columnist, she has written several radio plays for the BBC and contributes to the Guardian newspaper. Also an outspoken critic of the antisemitism that has plagued the British Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Oberman resigned from the party in 2017. In February of this year, Oberman and fellow J-100 list member Rachel Riley launched a joint legal action against more than 60 Twitter accounts that showered them with anti-Jewish invective for challenging Labour’s antisemitism. (Photo: Courtesy)

ARTS AND CULTURE

24 .

British comedian and actor Sasha Baron Cohen recently said that he used to pass up offers that he feared would “typecast” him as a Jewish actor. Yet he currently stars as Mossad agent Eli Cohen in the Netflix miniseries The Spy, after he couldn’t put down Israeli director Gideon Raff’s script. “So I gave up this position of avoiding Jewish or Israeli roles,” he said. The Netflix show is based on the true story of Eli Cohen, chosen by the Mossad to infiltrate the Syrian government in the 1960s. He was given a fake identity as a wealthy Syrian businessman, but was discovered by the Syrian government and publicly hanged in 1965 in Damascus. (Photo: Joella Marano / CC BY-SA 2.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

25 .

Sagi Muki

Judoka

Israeli prowess in the martial arts has a new face: 2019 World Judo champion Sagi Aharon Muki, a native of Netanya. Muki dropped to his knees and burst into tears after defeating Belgian judoka Matthias Casse to win the gold in the under-81 kilogram weight class at the championship finals in Tokyo, and later sang along to Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” as it was played for the first time at the competition. In an interview with the Algemeiner, Muki spoke about the prejudice he’d encountered in his career, as when Egyptian opponent Mohamed Abdelaal refused to bow or shake his hand after losing to him. “I’m very proud of where I am from,” he said, as he pledged to return to Tokyo in 2020 to win gold for Israel in the Olympics. (Photo: Naoki Nishimura / AFLO SPORT / Reuters)

ARTS AND CULTURE

26 .

Sarah Idan

Model

An Iraqi-American model, television host, musician, and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Universe in 2017, Sarah Idan taught herself English by listening to Western pop music while still a teenager in Baghdad. The first Iraqi model to participate in the Miss Universe pageant in 45 years, Idan found herself the target of hateful attacks in her home country after she posed for a photo with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman. Unphased by the anger directed towards her, Idan visited Israel in 2018. “There are a lot of Iraqi people on my side, and I believe they are happy I am here,” she said. In 2019, Idan again made headlines when she declared that anti-Israel Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “does not represent me as a Muslim – nor does she represent millions of Muslims in the Middle East.” (Photo: AJC Global / Screenshot)

ARTS AND CULTURE

27 .

British actress Tracy Ann Oberman is famous for her role as Chrissie Watts on the renowned BBC series Eastenders, one of the longest running soap operas on British television. An accomplished author and newspaper columnist, she has written several radio plays for the BBC and contributes to the Guardian newspaper. Also an outspoken critic of the antisemitism that has plagued the British Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Oberman resigned from the party in 2017. In February of this year, Oberman and fellow J-100 list member Rachel Riley launched a joint legal action against more than 60 Twitter accounts that showered them with anti-Jewish invective for challenging Labour’s antisemitism. (Photo: Tracy Ann Oberman / CC BY-SA 3.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

28 .

Zalmen Mlotek

Conductor and composer

The distinguished American Jewish conductor and composer Zalmen Mlotek, who studied at the Juilliard School under the legendary Leonard Bernstein, has served as the artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) for more than two decades. In 2018, Mlotek's team at the NYTF debuted Fiddler On The Roof in Yiddish at The Museum of Jewish Heritage to overwhelming critical acclaim. Originally set to run for eight weeks, the production was repeatedly extended until it was transferred to the Off-Broadway venue Stage 42, where it still runs, and where Mlotek works as musical director and conductor, except on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. An internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music, Mlotek has lectured at Columbia University, Yeshiva University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Bar-Ilan University in Israel. (Photo: Mlotekfamily / CC BY-SA 4.0)

ARTS AND CULTURE

29 .

Adam Neumann

Co-founder and CEO, WeWork

Adam Neumann, co-founder and CEO of the workspace company WeWork, in recent months observed Shabbat for the first time and concluded that the experience had changed his life for the better. He now keeps Shabbat with his wife and five children. Neumann also urges others to “disconnect from their technology” to allow a connection with family and friends, and serves as an example for aspiring entrepreneurs that Judaism is compatible with the modern business world. Born in Tel Aviv, Neumann served for five years as an officer in the Israeli Navy and has said that in creating WeWork, he sought to replicate the feeling of togetherness and belonging he felt in Israel. (Photo: Reuters / Eduardo Munoz / File)

BUSINESS

30 .

Andy Borans

CEO, Alpha Epsilon Pi

The CEO of the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Foundation, Andy Borans was this year presented with the Order of the Lion, the Jewish student fraternity’s highest honor. Over the years, Borans has been actively involved in a number of national and international Jewish causes, including the Jewish National Fund, AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, B’nai B’rith International, Hillel, and Chabad on Campus. A first-class communicator and advocate, Borans was effusively praised by AEPi Supreme Master Jeff Jacobson as “one of the most impactful people in AEPi’s history.” Jacobson added, “I think it’s fair to say that we wouldn’t be this strong, this large, and this influential today if it wasn’t for Andy Borans.” (Photo: Courtesy)

COMMUNITY

31 .

Bernard Michael

President and CEO, Center for Jewish History

Bernard Michael was recently named president and CEO of the Center for Jewish History, a partnership of five Jewish history, scholarship, and art organizations in New York City: American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute New York, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Housed in one location, the partners have separate governing bodies and finances, but share resources. The partners’ collections comprise the biggest repository of Jewish history in the United States. The Center for Jewish History also serves as a centralized place of scholarly research, events, exhibitions, and performances. Michael is a co-founder and partner of the real estate investment, development, and management firm AWH Partners and serves as president of the American Jewish Historical Society. (Photo: Courtesy)

COMMUNITY

32 .

Betsy Korn and Howard Kohr

Leadership, American Israel Public Affairs Committee

Betsy Korn, the incoming president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Howard Kohr, its executive director, will together steer the bipartisan organization committed to strengthening, protecting, and promoting the US-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of both nations. Korn, who started the sports business BVision Sportsmedia, once served as an AIPAC intern. Kohr, who has served in his role since 1996, shared at the March 2019 AIPAC Policy Conference some of the challenges facing American Jewry: “The scurrilous charge of dual loyalty is a signal, and that signal, amplified by today's social media, is now empowering people who have long-opposed our cause, our movement and frankly, everything we have built. Now we see the intense hatred of the Jewish state is creeping from the margins towards the center of our politics – places where political coalitions are built, places where this nation's leaders gather to debate and make decisions.” (Photo: Courtesy)

COMMUNITY

33 .

Malcolm Hoenlein

Executive vice chairman, Presidents Conference

Malcolm Hoenlein, the US Jewish leader once described by the BBC as “the most influential private citizen in American foreign policy,” will soon step down from the helm of one of the country’s top Jewish groups after more than three decades in the position. As executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (Presidents Conference), Hoenlein established himself in diplomatic circles as a trusted confidante of key US and Israeli officials, as well as an interlocutor with senior Arab representatives and an intermediary with such leaders as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Hoenlein will stay on at the organization to help his successor, William Daroff of the Jewish Federations of North America, transition into his new role as Presidents Conference CEO. (Photo: Maxine Dovere)

COMMUNITY

34 .

Marie van der Zyl

President, Board of Deputies of British Jews

Elected president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in May 2018, Marie van der Zyl wasted no time in continuing the Jewish representative organization’s vocal stance against antisemitism in the British Labour Party. “Labour has failed to deal with antisemitism since the Jewish Community’s 2018 ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration called on the Labour leadership to act against this racism," she said in February, after the resignation of a group of Labour parliamentarians over the ongoing scandal. “This is a moment of great shame for the Labour Party and a tragedy for the thousands of Jews who have supported the party for generations.” Born and brought up in London, van der Zyl still works part-time as an employment lawyer while juggling her communal responsibilities. (Photo: Board of Deputies of British Jews / Screenshot)

COMMUNITY

35 .

Wendy Kahn

National director, South African Jewish Board of Deputies

Wendy Kahn, the first woman to become national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, is outspoken against the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign and other anti-Israel groups, both in her home country and around the world. “We need to show them [boycott activists] up for what they are,” Kahn told the Jerusalem Post, adding, “They are using a rhetoric that wants little more than to destroy the Jewish state and has shown little in finding a lasting and sustainable solution to the tragic conflict in the Middle East. We have to expose their antisemitism. We need to expose their intimidation, which for us is anti-South African.” (Photo: Courtesy)

COMMUNITY

36 .

Anne ‘Chani’ Neuberger

Director, NSA Cybersecurity Directorate

In July, the US National Security Agency created a new Cybersecurity Directorate, headed by Anne “Chani” Neuberger. Not only is Neuberger the highest-ranking woman in the NSA, she is also an Orthodox Jew. Neuberger grew up in Brooklyn in a family that included grandparents who survived the Holocaust. Her parents were passengers on the 1976 hijacked Air France flight rescued by Israeli commandos at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. These experiences, together with her religious faith, inform her work in the present. “I try to lead an examined life,” Neuberger reflected in a recent interview. “I try to lead a life where I’m asking myself that question: Have I earned the gift of existence, in some way?” (Photo: National Security Agency)

GOVERNMENT

37 .

Aviv Kochavi

IDF chief of staff

Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi is the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, having taken the oath of office in January 2019. His distinguished career serving Israel’s defense requirements goes back more than three decades. During the two wars Israel was compelled to fight against Hamas terrorists in Gaza in the last 10 years, Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Protective Edge, Kochavi served as chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate. A key focus for Kochavi is the changing nature of the terrorist threat faced by Israel. “The firepower the enemy will encounter in the next war will be unprecedented,” he warned this year. Any country that “allows terrorism to entrench itself in its territory will be seen as responsible for it, and suffer the consequences,” Kochavi said. (Photo: Flash90)

GOVERNMENT

38 .

Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime minister of Israel

Israel’s longest serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, did not secure a clear election victory in the latest election and, at the time of publication, a coalition government had not been formed. While Israelis remain divided over Netanyahu’s legacy, he will likely remain an influential figure on the global political stage for years to come. The first Israeli premier to be born in Israel after statehood was established, he has arguably enabled a period of growth and prosperity, ensured regional military dominance, and fostered an international coalition against Iran, among other achievements. (Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun / File)

GOVERNMENT

39 .

Benny Gantz

Leader, Blue and White party

Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and a newcomer to Israeli politics, leads the centrist Blue and White party. Many voters view him as an alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz certainly destabilized him in the recent elections -- though, at the time of publication, a unity government had yet to be formed. “I ask you, citizens of Israel, for the opportunity to lead the State of Israel,” Gantz said. “I promise to bolster security, fight corruption, and look out for Israelis’ day-to-day lives; to take care of the sick people in the crowded emergency rooms, students who don’t have the opportunity to succeed, neglected senior citizens and people with disabilities, and families and young people fighting to survive despite the soaring cost of living.” (Photo: Reuters / Corinna Kern)

GOVERNMENT

40 .

Donald Trump

President of the United States

The 45th president of the United States has variously been the source of joy, pride, anxiety, and condemnation across the American Jewish community during the past year. After withdrawing from the flawed nuclear deal with Iran and moving, in accordance with American law, the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump has more recently been talking about a mutual defense pact with the Jewish state. Despite the unprecedented warmth in relations with Israel, Trump’s relationship with the Jewish community in his own country has at times been much more fraught, and never more so than in August 2019, when he asserted that US Jews who vote for the Democratic Party do so “either [because of] a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” Don’t expect that relationship to be any calmer as Trump campaigns for a second term in office in 2020. (Photo: White House)

GOVERNMENT

41 .

US Democratic lawmakers Elaine Luria of Virginia, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Max Rose of New York, all have stood up to antisemitism as part of their official role. Both Luria and Rose are freshman lawmakers, while Gottheimer is serving a second term. Earlier this year, Gottheimer and Luria led a letter from 25 members of the Democratic Caucus urging Democratic House leadership to address and condemn recent antisemitic rhetoric from within its ranks. “We cannot remain silent in the face of hateful speech or actions. We hope that our caucus will take swift action to address these issues in the coming days by reiterating our rejection of antisemitism,” stated the letter, to which Rose was a signatory. It also stated, “We feel strongly that we cannot return to a time when it was considered fair game to question the motives, patriotism, and loyalty of some members of Congress.” (Photo: US Congress)

GOVERNMENT

42 .

Eric Pickles

UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues

As a Conservative member of the British Parliament for more than 20 years, Eric Pickles established close ties with the UK Jewish community through his stalwart support for Israel and determined stance against antisemitism. Elevated to the House of Lords in 2018, Pickles also serves as the UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues. In that capacity, he is working with the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation to establish a new world-class learning center in London to advance Holocaust education worldwide. Lord Pickles continues to challenge antisemitism, whether on the right or the left, wherever he encounters it. In the last year, he charged conservative Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban with deploying “vivid antisemitism” and told Jeremy Corbyn of the British Labour Party that a "base and horrid" antisemitism had crystallized under his leadership. (Photo: Communities and Local Government Office / OGL v1.0)

GOVERNMENT

43 .

Esther Hayut

Chief justice, Supreme Court of Israel

Esther Hayut, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Israel since 2017, has been outspoken about politicians’ criticism of judges, saying that Israel’s ongoing existence is a result of the “rule of law” that “keeps our nation together.” At a recent conference at the Israeli president’s residence to honor her predecessor, Justice Miriam Naor, Hayut warned that those who attack Israel’s independent judicial system pose a threat to democracy. “For the rule of the people not to turn into the tyranny of the people, we must promise to protect the rule of law and the rights of the individual, especially the rights of minorities,” she said. “The independent judiciary system and the responsibility of judiciary review are central building blocks of the system of checks and balances of Israeli government.” Hayut is expected to lead the court until 2023. (Photo: The Judicial Authority of Israel / CC BY-SA 4.0)

GOVERNMENT

44 .

Hanan Melcer

Deputy chief justice, Supreme Court of Israel

When Deputy Chief Justice Hanan Melcer was initially named to Israel’s high court in 2007, it marked the first time in many years that a private sector lawyer was picked. In his related role as chairman of the nation’s Central Elections Committee, Melcer has overall responsibility for ensuring fairness and accuracy in voting. Israel’s recent elections provided the first test of an initiative spearheaded by Melcer to provide additional oversight in voting and in counting and analyzing the results. Prior to joining the court, he founded one of Israel's most respected law firms and was involved with the legal handling of major infrastructure projects in the country. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)

GOVERNMENT

45 .

Jared Kushner

White House senior adviser

While the Trump White House has become a revolving door for presidential advisers, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has retained his position at the heart of the administration. His main priority has been the revival of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, based on a much-heralded peace plan that emphasizes economic development and regional cooperation as well as Palestinian self-determination. “There are some things that the current Palestinian government has done well and there’s some things that are lacking,” Kushner said in an August 2019 interview. “For investors to come in and want to invest in different industry and infrastructure and create jobs, you do need to have a fair judicial system. You need to have freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions.” (Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque / File)

GOVERNMENT

46 .

Katharina von Schnurbein

European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism

Leading German politician Katharina von Schnurbein was appointed the first European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism in December 2015. A graduate of Bonn and Oxford universities, von Schnurbein is now in charge of coordinating government responses to the rise of antisemitism across the European Union. Among her goals is persuading all 28 EU member-states to harmonize their legal and law enforcement provisions against Holocaust denial and similar expressions of antisemitism. In a speech to the UN General Assembly in June 2018, von Schnurbein said, “Given our history, we know, when antisemitism is on the rise, something bigger is going on.” She continued, "An unholy alliance of neo-Nazis, Islamists, and far-left extremists join in believing in a Jewish conspiracy controlling governments, the economy, and the media.” (Photo: World Jewish Congress / Screenshot)

GOVERNMENT

47 .

Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

Foreign affairs minister of Bahrain

Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the second foreign minister in Bahrain’s history, is an important voice in the ever-changing dynamics of the Middle East. At a religious freedom summit this summer in Washington, D.C., he met with his Israeli counterpart, Yisrael Katz, who tweeted afterwards, “Another example of our growing diplomatic connections. I will continue to work with [the Israeli prime minister] to advance Israel’s relations with the Gulf countries.” At a June economic conference in Manama arranged by Jared Kushner to attract investors to the Palestinian territories, Khalifa said, "Israel is part of this heritage of this whole region, historically, so the Jewish people have a place amongst us.” (Photo: Reuters / Hamad I Mohammed / File)

GOVERNMENT

48 .

Luciana Berger

British member of Parliament

After courageously confronting the antisemitism that has swelled throughout the British Labour Party’s ranks since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015, Jewish parliamentarian Luciana Berger finally resigned from the party earlier this year, along with several other Labour members of Parliament. By taking Corbyn on, Berger became the target of horrific antisemitic abuse on social media, much of it from Corbyn supporters. “The values I hold really dear, and which led me to join the Labour Party as a student almost 20 years ago, remain who I am,” Berger wrote in her resignation letter. Yet she added, “I cannot remain in a party that I have today come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally antisemitic.” In September 2019, Berger joined the center-left Liberal Democratic Party because of its clear opposition to Brexit, the UK’s planned departure from the European Union. (Photo: Emma Baum / CC BY-SA 3.0)

GOVERNMENT

49 .

Mauro Vieira

Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations

Mauro Vieira, the Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations, has affirmed to the international body his country’s support for a two-state, negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro as president earlier this year, Brazil decided to join the United States and Israel in voting against “Item 7” at the UN Human Rights Council -- a welcome reversal, after a years-long pattern of the South American nation voting against Israel at the UN, or abstaining from lending its support. The controversial “Item 7,” which was also voted against by European Union nations and Japan, ensures that the Human Rights Council singles out Israel for discussion at every session. No other country in the world faces a similar review. (Photo: Ministério das Relações Exteriores / CC BY-NC 2.0)

GOVERNMENT

50 .

Mike Pompeo

United States secretary of state

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to champion support for Israel and opposition to Iranian aggression in the Middle East as cornerstones of American foreign policy. “We came in when an administration had cozied up to Iran, had given them a pathway to a nuclear-weapons system,” Pompeo said in an interview in August 2019. “We’ve fundamentally flipped that.” In terms of the Trump administration’s proposals for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Pompeo stressed that Israel’s security needs remain the paramount concern. The administration has a plan “that protects Israel, that protects the security interests of Israel, and we would never step in or recommend an outcome that presented risk to them,” Pompeo said. Referring to Israeli efforts to push the Iranian military and its terrorist allies out of Syria and Lebanon, Pompeo declared that the US would support Israel, saying, “Each time Israel has been forced to take actions to defend itself, the United States has made it very clear that that country has not only the right, but the duty to protect its own people. And we are always supportive of their efforts to do that.” (Photo: Mandel Ngan / Pool via Reuters)

GOVERNMENT

51 .

Reuven Rivlin

President of Israel

Reuven Rivlin, the 10th and current president of Israel, is hard at work to forge a unity government during a time of fractious politics in Israel. An experienced politician, Rivlin said he sought a broad coalition after a second round of elections failed to provide a clear winner, with the Likud and Blue and White parties almost evenly matched. “The nation expects you to find a solution and prevent additional elections, even if it means paying a personal or ideological price,” said Rivlin, adding that the Israeli public wanted a stable government. (Photo: Mark Neyman / Government Press Office, Israel)

GOVERNMENT

52 .

Richard Grenell

United States ambassador to Germany

Since his appointment as US ambassador to Germany in May 2018, Richard Grenell has gained a reputation as one of America’s most determined and outspoken representatives abroad. A veteran of politics and diplomacy -- he was the longest-serving US spokesman at the United Nations, and later the first openly gay spokesperson for a Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney -- Grenell has not shied away from challenging the German government and Europe more widely over its commercial relationship with the Iranian regime. In September 2019, Grenell called on the German government to fully ban Iran’s terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. “The EU maintains an artificial differentiation between the military and political arm of Hezbollah,” Grenell said in an interview. By contrast, the US remains “true to our principles and classifies Hezbollah as what it is: a terror organization.” (Photo: US Consulate Munich)

GOVERNMENT

53 .

Sajid Javid

Chancellor of the exchequer

Appointed chancellor of the exchequer by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July 2019, Sajid Javid is a key player among the new crop of Conservative Party politicians who have pushed energetically for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Previously the first Muslim to serve as British home secretary, Javid maintains excellent relations with the Jewish community and is an unabashed supporter of Israel. Dispatched on an official visit to the Jewish state soon after becoming chancellor, Javid described the trip as a “privilege.” A bold voice against rising hatred of Jews in Britain, Javid has spoken of his determination “to safeguard our Jewish communities from this creeping antisemitism which not only fuels hate crime, but also extremism and even terrorism.” (Photo: Reuters / Peter Nicholls)

GOVERNMENT

54 .

Sandra Jovel

Foreign affairs minister of Guatemala

Sandra Jovel has served as Guatemala’s foreign affairs minister since 2017. During her tenure, the Central American nation moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the only nation besides the United States to do so. Jovel, who traveled to Israel for the Guatemalan embassy inauguration, hailed her nation’s “important Jewish community” and called Jerusalem “the eternal capital of Israel.” She also said, “We are doing the right thing in accordance with the foreign policy that Guatemala has had toward Israel over the past 70 years.” Guatemala’s embassy in Israel was the country’s first in Asia. (Photo: Valenzuela.jm / CC BY-SA 4.0)

GOVERNMENT

55 .

Ted Deutch

US representative

Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat representing Florida, advocates passionately and consistently for a strong US-Israel relationship. Deutch, who is Jewish, serves as ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s influential Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, where he champions Israel’s security during a time of great volatility in the Middle East. He routinely introduces legislation that strives to improve bilateral security and economic ties, such as the recent US-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act, which passed the House this summer. Deutch also introduced a bipartisan resolution to condemn the deadly 1994 attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, or AMIA, Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, and call for the suspected Iranian and Hezbollah operatives behind the massacre to be held accountable. And in June 2019, he was part of a bipartisan group of US representatives who sent a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, urging her to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group. (Photo: US Congress)

GOVERNMENT

56 .

Viorica Dăncilă

Prime minister of Romania

Viorica Dăncilă, the prime minister of Romania, said her country would move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem in a surprise announcement at this year’s opening session of AIPAC’s policy conference. She called President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem an “admirable and courageous step [that] impressed me, my government, and the Romanian people.” She added, “This gesture also launched an international reflection process.” But hours later, the statement was strongly contradicted by the country’s president, Klaus Iohannis, who has a final say on foreign policy issues. Dăncilă, a former member of the European Parliament, is the country’s first female prime minister. (Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad)

GOVERNMENT

57 .

Yossi Cohen

Director of Mossad

The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, Yossi Cohen is a distinguished veteran of the Israeli military who served in the Paratroopers Brigade before being honorably discharged. Fluent in English, Arabic, and French, Cohen ran covert operations for the Mossad in several countries before becoming head of the agency. In September 2019, Cohen revealed some of the details of the Israeli operation that successfully captured the Iranian nuclear weapons planning archive exposed to the world by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu one year earlier. “In total, there were 55,000 documents, pictures, and videos that helped expose the big Iranian lie. The operation proved that the impossible – the impossible and inconceivable – was conceivable,” Cohen said. (Photo: Flash90)

GOVERNMENT

58 .

Arthur Fried

Board member, The AVI CHAI Foundation

The AVI CHAI Foundation, which completes its grantmaking December 31, 2019, has benefited for many years from the dedication of Arthur Fried, current board member and founding trustee, and former chairman. Fried helped the foundation realize its stated mission of “strengthening Judaism, Jewish literacy, and Jewish tradition; promoting mutual understanding among Jews of differing religious orientations; and sustaining, enlarging, and enriching Jewish commitment to the State of Israel.”. Specifically, Fried developed AVI CHAI’s philanthropic portfolio in the former Soviet Union and oversaw the start of its spend-down planning, according to the foundation. He served as chairman of the organization from 1990 to 2012. (Photo: Courtesy)

PHILANTHROPY

59 .

Gail Asper

President and a trustee, The Asper Foundation

Canadian philanthropist Gail Asper is working on establishing a new museum in Tel Aviv to showcase generations of Jewish achievement -- a fitting gift for Israel’s 75th birthday in 2023, by when the ambitious project aims to be complete. She wants for the World Jewish Museum to serve as a story of celebration and Jewish innovation in all fields. Asper has a successful track record; in 2014, she launched a $350 million award-winning human rights museum in Winnipeg, her hometown. She took on that project after her father, entrepreneur and philanthropist Izzy Alper, passed away. The Canadian Museum of Human Rights was the first national museum in nearly 50 years established outside Ottawa. (Photo: Courtesy)

PHILANTHROPY

60 .

Morris Kahn

Entrepreneur

Israeli software entrepreneur Morris Kahn founded SpaceIL, an ambitious non-profit that aimed to be the first private entity to softly land a craft on the moon. While the Beresheet probe crashed close to landing, the mission was still seen as worthwhile. Kahn was a major supporter of the effort, covering some 40 percent of the $100 million mission. Immediately after the April 11 lunar-landing attempt, Kahn said, “We’re going to actually build a new ‘halalit,’ a new spacecraft. We’re going to put it on the moon, and we're going to complete the mission.” (Photo: Dafna.liza / CC BY-SA 4.0)

PHILANTHROPY

61 .

Sylvan Adams

Businessman

Sylvan Adams, a Canadian philanthropist and former real estate developer, has funded meaningful activities in both Canada and Israel, where he now resides. He is one of the major funders of SpaceIL, the non-profit organization that worked toward landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. Adams, a competitive road and track cyclist, founded the Sylvan Adams Cycling Network in Tel Aviv to promote the sport in Israel, and invested in the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute at Tel Aviv University campus -- an effort "to enable Israel to be the startup sporting nation," said Adams. He is also a co-owner of the Israel Cycling Academy, the nation’s first professional cycling team, and sponsored the building of the Sylvan Adams Velodrome in Tel Aviv, the first Olympic velodrome in the Middle East. (Photo: TAUVOD / Screenshot)

PHILANTHROPY

62 .

Abdul Hadi Palazzi

Secretary general of the Italian Muslim Assembly

Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, secretary general of the Italian Muslim Assembly, continues to provide measured views about the State of Israel. He holds that the return of the Jews to Israel, as well as the establishment of the Jewish state, are in accordance with the teachings of Islam, and accepts Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. Palazzi, also a director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, condemns fundamentalism and fanaticism and promotes interfaith dialogue between Jews and Christians, among other religions. He holds a doctorate degree in Islamic sciences from the Institute for Islamic Studies and Research in Naples. (Photo: LES GLASSMAN / Screenshot)

RELIGION

63 .

Adin Steinsaltz

Talmudic scholar

A prominent rabbi, as well as an accomplished student of physics, chemistry, and mathematics, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz has dedicated his life to introducing his fellow Jews to the wisdom of the Talmud. He is perhaps the most prolific scholar on Jewish texts -- and has translated the Talmud from Aramaic to Hebrew. In late 2018, Steinsaltz and the Koren publishing house released the Steinsaltz Humash, an English version of the rabbi's translation and commentary on the Tanakh -- complete with colored photos, maps, charts, illustrations, and more. (Photo: Director5772 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

RELIGION

64 .

David Lau

Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel

Rabbi David Lau, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, has not shied away from controversy since he was elected to the post in 2013. Lau, the former chief rabbi of Modi’in, was the first Israeli rabbi to teach “responsa,” or Jewish legal decisions, via the internet. He is the son of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who served as the chief Ashkenazi rabbi between 1993 and 2003. Recently, Rabbi David Lau took a remarkable stance in support of “agunot,” women who are refused a Jewish divorce by their husbands. He reportedly ordered the prevention of the burial of the mother of a Jewish man who for 15 years had not given his spouse a Jewish divorce. (Photo: Gershon Elinson / Flash90)

RELIGION

65 .

Gabriel Davidovich

Chief rabbi of Argentina

In February 2019, Argentinian Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich was brutally beaten in his home, suffering nine broken ribs and a punctured lung. He has alleged that the attackers told him during the home invasion that they knew he was the rabbi of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish Center, which was targeted in 1994 in what the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack to date. The Argentinian Jewish community, the largest in South America, has demanded that police approach the attack as a hate crime, arguing that its vicious nature suggests careful planning as well as knowledge of the victim’s identity. To date, at least six suspects have been arrested. (Photo: AMIA)

RELIGION

66 .

Jeffrey Myers

Rabbi of of Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation

It was the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in the history of the United States: 11 worshippers cruelly murdered by an antisemitic gunman who attacked Shabbat services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. In that moment of unprecedented tragedy, Rabbi Jeffrey Meyers displayed a calm heroism as he ushered several of his congregants to safety. “[The gunman] was in the lobby,” Myers recalled. “My gut told me that it was a semiautomatic, and that’s how I knew I had to act immediately to save as many people as I could.” In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh massacre, Myers is focusing his energies on curbing hate speech against Jews and other minorities. “Hate speech led to the death of seven of my congregants and 11 total in my building,” he said. (Photo: Courtesy)

RELIGION

67 .

Mark Golub

CEO and executive producer, Jewish Broadcasting Service

Rabbi Mark Golub and his Fort Lee-based Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS) continue to attract viewers who hold diverse opinions, as it advances discussion about issues of importance to the Jewish people and Israel. “I have a unique perspective among American rabbis,” said Golub, a Reform rabbi, adding, “I grew up with Orthodoxy on one side, and Reconstructionism on the other. And when my parents married, they created a Conservative household.” It is therefore no surprise that a range of Jewish leaders – from Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street to Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America – have appeared on JBS. The non-profit Jewish educational network is now in more than 40 million homes. “We have created a sense of Jewish community for Jews who don’t have access to it in any other way,” Golub said. (Photo: JBS / Screenshot)

RELIGION

68 .

Moshe Kotlarsky

Vice chairman, Chabad’s Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky is the vice chairman of the educational arm of the Chabad movement, which counts among its ranks more than 4,000 religious and educational institutions worldwide. Born in Brooklyn, Kotlarsky continues to live in the Crown Heights section of the New York City borough with his wife and family. Known in Chabad circles as known as “Judaism’s Globe Trotter,” in September 2019, Kotlarsky opened the latest branch of Chabad in the central African nation of Rwanda. Other significant milestones for Kotlarsky this year included the opening of the first mikveh in South Korean capital of Seoul, where he delivered the keynote speech at the dedication ceremony. (Photo:
kinushashluchim
/ Screenshot)

RELIGION

69 .

Yehuda Krinsky

Chairman, Chabad’s Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch

The chairman of the educational arm Chabad movement, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky began his career as an emissary of the legendary Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. “Today, in my estimation, Chabad-Lubavitch is the largest Jewish organization in the world,” Krinsky said in a 2019 interview. “You have over 3,500 Batei Chabad [Chabad Houses] all over the world, and along with spreading Torah and mitzvot, our people save people in natural disasters. ... They save non-Jews, too.” Among the world leaders with whom Krinsky enjoys a close relationship is Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He spoke about Chabad like a shaliach (emissary),” Krinsky said of one of his meetings with the Russian leader. (Photo:
kinushashluchim
/ Screenshot)

RELIGION

70 .

Yitzhak Yosef

Sephardi chief rabbi of Israel

Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has served as Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi since 2013, heads Yeshivat Hazon Ovadia, and authored the widely-cited set of Jewish law books Yalkut Yosef, which aim to give Halachic guidance to Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews. Yosef, who has made controversial statements, in 2018 called for international military intervention against the Assad regime in Syria. He interestingly called this summer for increased pool safety for children. (Photo: Mark Neyman / Government Press Office, Israel)

RELIGION

71 .

Liora Rez

Executive director, StopAntisemitism.org

Liora Rez is helping spearhead the battle against online antisemitism in her role as executive director of StopAntisemitism.org. Having worked as a social media influencer since 2013 under the name “Jewish Chick,” Rez joined forces with several concerned individuals in 2018 to battle the antisemitism she encountered on the internet. “The rise of antisemitism is a symptom of a bigger issue as hatred and bigotry in America are moving beyond just racism against Jews,” Rez has said. “Our goal is to keep antisemites accountable and create consequences for their hatred and racist actions by substantiating the fact that they are the enemies of the American people and conflict with American values and morals.” (Photo: Courtesy)

TOMORROW

72 .

Ofir Dayan

President, Columbia Students Supporting Israel

Ofir Dayan, president of the Columbia University pro-Israel student group Students Supporting Israel, has worked toward advocating for the Jewish state ever since her plane first touched down in New York. Most recently, she helped to convince student groups to reject a controversial effort to divest from eight companies because their ties to Israel. Dayan said the vote was an accomplishment for “what is right and just” and for the Jewish and Zionist communities at the Ivy League university. “The student council decided to reaffirm their commitment to make them feel safe on campus,” she said. Dayan, who enrolled at Columbia after three years of IDF service, is the daughter of Israel’s consul-general in New York, Dani Dayan. (Photo: Courtesy)

TOMORROW

73 .

Or Na’aman

Israel Defense Forces captain

Israel Defense Forces Capt. Or Na’aman has been recognized for her excellent command of the air force battalion that intercepted Syrian aircraft over the Golan Heights in 2018. Na’aman led the Patriot missile battery that shot down a Syrian drone that penetrated some six miles into Israeli airspace. She was responsible for intercepting a Syrian fighter jet that breached Israeli airspace a couple of weeks later. Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin, in praising Na’aman’s abilities, said, “You both learned and taught your soldiers how to perform under pressure and led them to a high level of operational readiness. You not only were successful in the mission, but gained the trust and confidence of your commanders and subordinates.” (Photo: IDF)

TOMORROW

74 .

Sacha Ghozlan

President, French Union of Jewish Students

The outspoken president of the French Union of Jewish Students, Sacha Ghozlan is on the front lines of the battle against antisemitism in France, where violent assaults have plagued the Jewish community alongside constant agitation from professional antisemites like Alain Soral, a notorious Holocaust denier, and Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who presents himself as a comedian. “Antisemitism is coming from the far-left, from the far-right, from radicalized Muslims — they are the ones who target French Jewish students in universities,” Ghozlan told the Algemeiner in March 2019. “People are dying in Europe because of this kind of ideology, this kind of hate speech.” (Photo: Ibuka France / Screenshot)

TOMORROW

75 .

Adam Kirsch

Poet and literary critic

Esteemed poet and literary critic Adam Kirsch, called “one of today’s keenest critics” and “the hope for Jewish literature,” is the author of 10 books, including his recently published collection of essays Who Wants to be a Jewish Writer? In this work, he explores the intersection of poetry and religion, with a particular focus on Jewish literature and whether it can even be defined. He also serves as poetry editor of the New Criterion, and regularly contributes to the Atlantic, New Yorker, and Tablet, among other publications. (Photo: Courtesy)

VOICES

76 .

Andrei Piontkovsky

Political analyst

Andrei Piontkovsky is considered one of the most pro-Israel Russian political analysts, observers say, and doesn’t shy away from criticizing the motives of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Piontkovsky, also a mathematician, recently suggested that Putin’s decision to sell air defense missiles to Iran would actually destabilize the region and drive up the price of oil, which may be his goal. The analyst reportedly said that Israel would likely feel compelled to launch a military strike at Iranian facilities in the near future before the Russian systems go operational, which could trigger a broader regional conflict. He also said that “if Israel does not act now, the world is likely to confront a nuclear-armed Iran in the near term, something that could lead other countries in the oil-rich region to try to go nuclear and compel them to raise prices.” (Photo: Dmitry Rozhkov / CC BY-SA 3.0)

VOICES

77 .

Ariel Burger

Author

Witness: Lessons from Elie’s Wiesel’s Classroom, Ariel Burger’s latest book, won the National Jewish Book Award for biography. Burger, a protégé of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, said he was driven to write the book because he wanted readers "to feel the experience of being in class with Professor Wiesel, to hear his voice and imagine his face." Witness deftly explores the works Wiesel taught, which include biblical texts, the teachings of Chasidic rebbes and classics of Western literature. An Orthodox rabbi, Burger received his doctorate in Jewish Studies and Conflict Resolution under Wiesel at Boston University. (Photo: Courtesy)

VOICES

78 .

Bill Maher

Television host

The American comedian, political commentator, and television host is known for the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher and the late-night show called Politically Incorrect, originally on Comedy Central and later on ABC. In 2019, Maher aimed his abrasive satirical style against the controversial boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign targeting Israel. To the warm applause of his studio audience, Maher denounced the campaign to isolate the Jewish state as "a b***s*** purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class.” Not quite done, he also criticized the antisemitic comments of Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar, saying her words meant that “it’s out there: Jews control the world, control the money.” (Photo: Angela George / CC BY 3.0)

VOICES

79 .

Dominic Green

Life and Arts editor, Spectator USA

Dominic Green, a critic, historian, and the Life and Arts editor of Spectator USA, writes widely about current affairs that include antisemitism and Israel. He has an international audience and also contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal. He has a nuanced approach to President Donald Trump, writing in a recent column, “It isn’t accurate to characterize the Democrats the way Trump did last March, as ‘totally anti-Israel’ and ‘anti-Jewish.’It would be more accurate to say that the Democratic left, the party of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Keith Ellison, harbors an obsessional loathing of Israel that frequently shades into antisemitism.” His forthcoming book is The Religious Revolution, a history of modern spirituality. (Photo: Courtesy)

VOICES

80 .

Edward L. Greenstein

Professor, Bar-Ilan University

A professor emeritus of Bible at Bar-Ilan University who has spent years studying the Book of Job, Edward L. Greenstein’s recently-published Job: A New Translation has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an “excellent, accessible translation that supports his new interpretation of the famous text.” The book, according to its publisher, relies on Greenstein's "decades of intensive research and painstaking philological and literary analysis," and offers a fresh perspective -- that Job "was defiant of God until the end." (Photo: barilanuniversity / Screenshot)

VOICES

81 .

Franz-Olivier Giesbert, a French journalist, author, and television host, is a vocal defender of Israel in French media. Earlier this year, Giesbert commended French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks to leaders of the Jewish community that the government would take steps to define “anti-Zionism as a modern-day form of antisemitism.” Giesbert also has supported the United States’ decision to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His latest book, Le Schmock (The Schmuck), explores through its fictional characters why Nazism was able to take hold in Germany. (Photo: Thesupermat / CC BY-SA 3.0)

VOICES

82 .

Gisèle Littman, an Egyptian-born British author who writes under the pen name Bat Ye’or -- Hebrew for “Daughter of the Nile” -- has focused much of her writing on European politics and the conditions faced by non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East, including in her most well-known work, The Dhimmi. Littman’s writing initially was seen as controversial because she was not affiliated with an institution of higher learning. Scholar Robert Wistrich once noted, “Up until the 1980s, she was not accepted at all. In academic circles they scorned her publications. Only when Bernard Lewis published the book 'Jews of Islam' with quotations from Bat Ye'or did they begin to pay any attention to her. A real change toward her emerged in the 1990s, and especially in recent years.” She is the author of eight books. (Photo: Courtesy)

VOICES

83 .

Jake Tapper

Journalist

Jake Tapper, an award-winning journalist for CNN, has forcefully responded to some of his detractors, including Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and former Women's March co-chair Linda Sarsour. In August 2019, in the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Tlaib criticized Tapper for “comparing Palestinian human rights advocates to terrorist white nationalists,” calling it “fundamentally a lie.” In response, Tapper said that “those who believe Palestinian leaders bear responsibility for the incitement of terrorism cannot then let US leaders off the hook and act as if words don’t matter.” Tapper, a practicing Jew, is also the author of The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, a bestselling book about US troops in Afghanistan. (Photo: Chad J. McNeeley)

VOICES

84 .

Julian Reichelt

Editor-in-chief, Bild

The editor-in-chief of Germany’s leading tabloid newspaper Bild, Julian Reichelt has been a powerful voice in the fight this year against rising antisemitism in his country. In May, after Germany’s top official for combating antisemitism warned that it was not safe for Jews to wear a kippah “everywhere, all the time,” Reichelt published a cut-out-and-keep kippah on the front page of Bild, alongside an editorial headlined, “The kippah belongs in Germany.” If Jews were scared to wear visible symbols of their identity, “then we have failed in the face of our history,” Reichelt wrote. “Wear it, so that your friends and neighbors can see it. Explain to your children what the kippah is. Post a photograph with the kippah on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Go out onto the streets with it.” (Photo: © Superbass / CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

VOICES

85 .

Lachlan Murdoch

Chairman and CEO, Fox Corporation

Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, became chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation after it was acquired by Disney in March 2019, cementing his status as heir to the Murdoch business empire. The entity’s flagship Fox News channel has by and large provided fair coverage of the State of Israel. Lachlan Murdoch, who previously served as executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, is also co-chairman of the mass media company News Corp. (Photo: Eva Rinaldi / CC BY-SA 2.0)

VOICES

86 .

Matti Friedman

Journalist

Author and journalist Matti Friedman, a op-ed contributor at the New York Times, has used his platform to hold the publication accountable for its coverage of Israel. Earlier this year, he wrote a piece critical of the Times’ reporting that West Bank settlers are to blame for Israel’s problem. Friedman earlier made headlines by writing a scathing criticism in an extended Facebook post of the report from NGO Breaking the Silence on the conduct of Israeli soldiers during the 2014 Gaza war. A former reporter for the Associated Press, Friedman also has drawn attention for an extensive critique, published by Tablet magazine, of the agency’s coverage of Israel. His latest book, Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel, chronicles the story of four Arabic-speaking Jews who operated an Israeli, pre-independence Zionist intelligence unit. It won the 2018 Natan Book Award. (Photo: Arielinson / CC BY-SA 4.0)

VOICES

87 .

Nicole Krauss

Author

Internationally bestselling Jewish-American author Nicole Krauss said she wrote her fourth and most recent work, Forest Dark, "out of the depths of lifelong reflections on Israel," according to the Times of Israel. The Financial Times praised the novel, which features two Jewish protagonists who travel to Israel from New York, as "a richly layered masterpiece … [that] does what only the very best fiction can do – startles, challenges and enlightens the reader, while showing the familiar world anew.” Krauss’ third novel, Great House, won an Anisfield-Wolf Book award and was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize, as was her second novel, The History of Love, which was awarded the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. (Photo: Amrei-Marie / CC BY-SA 4.0)

VOICES

88 .

Paul Gigot

Editorial page editor and vice president, The Wall Street Journal

Paul Gigot, editorial page editor and vice president of the Wall Street Journal, arguably oversees one of the most pro-Israel editorial pages among US mainstream news publications. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Gigot also moderates the television series Journal Editorial Report, which is broadcast on Fox News. A March 2019 editorial on the Golan Heights, for instance, took a measured approach to the US recognition, by way of a tweet from President Donald Trump, of Israeli sovereignty over the region. “This time his tweet was based on more than personal impulse and makes sense for American and Israeli interests,” it argued. (Photo: Preston Keres)

VOICES

89 .

Ronen Bergman

Journalist

Israeli journalist and author Ronen Bergman is known around the world for his astute political and military analyses. He has most recently made headlines for his book Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, which received international acclaim and was just released in paperback. Based on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents, the book “traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign and special operations, which have profoundly affected the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world,” Bergman said. Inspiration for the book’s title came from the Talmudic verse, “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” (Photo: Dor Malka / CC BY-SA 4.0)

VOICES

90 .

Sarah Hurwitz

Speechwriter

Sarah Hurwitz, a former speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and Michelle and Barack Obama, aimed to show others that “Judaism is worth choosing” in her recent book Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life -- in Judaism. Hurwitz’s sources for the book are a politically and religiously diverse group that includes Joseph Telushkin, Dennis Prager, Jonathan Sacks, Lawrence Hoffman, Ze’ev Maghen, Yoram Hazony, Shai Held, Avi Weiss, Shaye Cohen, Adam Kirsch, Jonathan Rosen, Art Green, Elliot Dorff, Donniel Hartman, Judith Shulevitz, and Elie Kaunfer. She draws from them in chapters about the Torah, prayer, the Sabbath, Jewish holidays, and death. Hurwitz is also a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. (Photo: Thor Brødreskift / Nordiske Mediedager / CC BY-SA 2.0)

VOICES

91 .

William Jacobson

Professor, Cornell University

An American lawyer and scholar who is an expert in securities arbitration, William Jacobson is a leading critic of the academic boycott of Israel and the anti-Zionist boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign as a whole. Jacobson, who is on the faculty of Cornell University’s law school, is also the founder and publisher of Legal Insurrection, a conservative news blog. He frequently makes media appearances and speaks at events across the nation. Earlier this year at Cornell, the student government rejected a BDS resolution by a vote of 15-14, with one abstention. Jacobson responded, “The point of BDS on campuses is not actually the boycott, divestment or sanction itself. BDS is just a tactic to dominate campus life and energy in the cause of demonizing Israel.” (Photo: C-SPAN / Screenshot)

VOICES

92 .

One of Israel’s leading authors and commentators, Yossi Klein-Halevi’s celebrated collection of books includes 2013’s Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided A Nation. Halevi's most recent book, titled Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, was published in 2018. In that volume, Halevi set out the case for Zionism and an independent Jewish state to his interlocutor, Palestinian academic Mohammed Dajani. Despite the novel nature of the project, Klein-Halevi does not believe that his book is sufficient to bring about a peaceful settlement, as that is a task for politicians. “I’m only a writer, not a politician,” he said in an interview this year. “My writer’s responsibility is to try to model what a respectful disagreement over irreconcilable narratives would sound like.” (Photo: Rachelgr713 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

VOICES

1 . of
  • Donna Robinson Divine

    Professor, Smith College

    Donna Robinson Divine, professor emerita at Smith College, was one of the guest editors of a special summer issue of Israel Studies, where she addressed the need to reclaim the language of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “How the change [in attitudes toward Israel] took hold in academia is best understood by focusing on the vocabulary that purports to show why the establishment of a Jewish state was an international crime that can only be undone by taking command of the language deployed to study Israel and its conflict with the Palestinians,” Divine wrote. While some critics questioned the quality of the journal’s scholarship, the issue’s editors and contributors defended its content and said the controversy was fueled in large part by academics who are sympathetic to Israel boycotts. Divine, who is fluent in Arabic, Hebrew, and Turkish, also served as president of the Association for Israel Studies from 2017-2019 and as an adjunct professor at Israel's University of Haifa. (Photo: Courtesy)

    ACADEMIA

  • Günther Jikeli

    Professor, Indiana University in Bloomington

    Günther Jikeli, born and educated in Germany and now a professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, conducts what may be some of the most crucial research of the post-World War II era on the persistence of antisemitism. Through a rapidly growing database of one-on-one interviews, as well as thousands of social media posts collected by his research team, Jikeli assembles his raw material directly from antisemites. He is then able to study the formation, evolution, and influence of these attitudes -- a mission of particular import today, as the world experiences an uptick in animus toward Jews. He was recently named the inaugural Ena B. Rosenfeld Professor at the university’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and has written extensively on European Muslim antisemitism. (Photo: Michaelangelo’s Photography)

    ACADEMIA

  • Jacques Gauthier

    Lawyer

    The work of Jacques Gauthier, an international jurist and Canadian lawyer, is as valuable as ever, especially as anti-Israel sentiment surges worldwide. An expert on the status of Jerusalem and Israel, Gauthier continues to speak publicly about the importance of Israel’s legal rights. He has argued powerfully that those in the United States and in the global community who claim that Israel has no legal titles to its land are relying on a false historical assumption. “It is absolutely vital to counter the generally accepted narrative that Israel’s presence and claims in Jerusalem violate international law,” he said at a recent event. “The historical truths undergirding the legitimacy of Israel’s sovereignty claims must be presented as effectively as possible.” (Photo: JBS / Screenshot)

    ACADEMIA

  • Aaron Lipskar and Zvi Boyarsky

    Leadership, The Aleph Institute

    Rabbis Aaron Lipskar and Zvi Boyarsky belong to the stellar leadership team of The Aleph Institute, a non-profit Jewish organization dedicated to assisting and caring for specific populations that are isolated from the regular community, including US military personnel, prisoners, and people institutionalized or at risk of incarceration due to mental illness or addictions. Rabbi Lipskar serves as Aleph’s executive VP/Director. He oversees all aspects of the organization, including program development and government relations. He received his rabbinical ordination from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Rabbi Boyarsky serves as Aleph’s director of constitutional advocacy. Originally from Montreal, he received his ordination at the Rabbinical College of America, Lubavitch. (Photo: The Aleph Institute / Screenshot)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Beate and Serge Klarsfeld

    Human rights activists

    Serge Klarsfeld, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust in Romania, married his German wife, Beate, in Paris in 1962, sealing a partnership for justice that continues to this day. As human rights activists, the Klarsfelds have played a major role over several decades in bringing to trial German and French Nazi war criminals such as Klaus Barbie, Paul Touvier, and Maurice Papon. They both understood the threat from anti-Zionism early on, confronting the antisemitic demonization of Israel pushed by the Soviet Union and the Palestine Liberation Organization. In 2018, their joint memoir Hunting the Truth was published to wide acclaim, winning the Jewish Book of the Year Award from the Jewish Book Council. (Photo: Klarsfeld Foundation / CC BY 3.0)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Daniel Mead

    Police officer

    On the terrible morning of October 29, 2018, when a white supremacist shooter murdered 11 people attending Shabbat services at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, local police officer Daniel Mead was the first to arrive at the scene. He confronted the shooter as he attempted to leave the synagogue, forcing him to retreat back inside, where he eventually surrendered. In the process, Mead came face-to-face with the shooter, who fired at him through a glass door, badly wounding him in the hand. Hailed for his bravery in the aftermath of the shooting, Mead’s sister Diane said that she'd asked him, “Dan, do you understand that you’re a national hero?" Replied her brother: "I’m just Danny Mead from Brookline.” Mead is now undergoing therapy to regain the use of his hand, with a GoFundMe page aiming to raise $50,000 towards his medical expenses. (Photo: GoFundMe / Screenshot)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Haim Shani

    Businessman

    One of the true pioneers of Israel’s dynamic technology sector, Haim Shani is the co-founder of Israel Growth Partners, a venture that provides capital and strategic guidance to Israeli tech entrepreneurs. During a distinguished 30-year career in business, Shani served for nearly a decade as CEO of Israel’s NICE Systems Ltd., leading the company’s growth from a $100 million business to revenues of more than $700 million. In recognition of his role as head of the UK Israel Tech Hub, which has established partnerships between British and Israeli tech companies valued at more than $1 billion, Shani was awarded with the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in October 2018. (Photo: Reuters / Mal Langsdon)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Mark Dubowitz

    CEO, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

    The chief executive of the Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), Mark Dubowitz is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program and the global threat posed by Tehran. He is also widely recognized as one of the key advocates of sanctions policies that seek to counter these threats. As observed by the New York Times, “Dubowitz’s campaign to draw attention to what he saw as the flaws in the Iran nuclear deal has taken its place among the most consequential ever undertaken by a Washington think tank leader.” In August 2019, Iran's Islamist leaders threatened Dubowitz and the FDD with unspecified reprisals for their advocacy, leading the think tank to retort that being targeted by the regime in Tehran was a "badge of honor." (Photo: FDD)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Rivka Kidron and Robert Nicholson

    Leadership, Passages

    Rivka Kidron and Robert Nicholson head up Passages, a program that brings thousands of young Christian leaders to the Jewish state each year, earning it an excellent reputation as the “Christian millennial version of Birthright Israel.” Kidron, who co-founded the organization, got her inspiration for the program when she served as a diaspora and Christian affairs adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Nicholson is the executive director of the Philos Project, an American nonprofit that seeks to promote positive Christian engagement in the Middle East and that sponsors the Passages program. Since its inception in 2015, Passages trips have inspired and educated some 7,000 Christian students from more than 600 colleges and universities with its wide-ranging leadership development and alumni engagement programs. (Photo: Courtesy)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Sivan Yaari

    Founder and CEO, Innovation: Africa

    Sivan Ya’ari is the founder and CEO of Innovation: Africa, a New York-based nonprofit that brings Israeli solar, agricultural and water technologies to rural African villages. Through her work, more than 1 million lives in the most remote villages on the African continent have been impacted, thanks to Israeli innovation. “We are committed to bring water where there is drought, to bring light where there is darkness, to bring hope and dignity where there is despair,” Ya’ari told a conference at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in July 2019. Aside from running Innovation: Africa, Ya'ari is a prominent businesswoman in Israel. iSpa Express, the nail salon chain she founded, was operating in 10 locations and employing 160 female workers throughout Israel when she sold the company in 2018. (Photo: Lior Sperandeo / CC BY-SA 3.0)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Yael Eckstein

    President, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

    One of the world's leading Jewish interfaith activists, in February 2019 Yael Eckstein suddenly found herself taking the helm of the Jerusalem and Chicago-based International Fellowship of Christians and Jews following the tragic death of her father, Rabbi Yehiel Eckstein, its founder and president. Rabbi Eckstein first founded the Fellowship to promote interfaith understanding between Christians and Jews -- a mission his daughter says will remain the organization’s focus. She was already named president-elect in advance of her father’s retirement, which had been set for 2021. Eckstein is currently advocating on behalf Father Vladimir Tobin, a Canadian Eastern Orthodox priest who was removed by church authorities from his church in Halifax after he spoke warmly of the Jewish roots of Christianity and prayed for Israel. “In case you've ever wondered whether the work of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is important, this is exhibit A,” Eckstein said of Father Tobin's cause. (Photo: IFCJ Canada / Screenshot)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Yehoshua Bedrick

    Director of policy, EdChoice

    Yehoshua (Jason) Bedrick is director of policy at EdChoice, an Indiana-based education reform organization. He was formerly a policy analyst with the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom. While he was raised in a secular Jewish home in Windham, New Hampshire, he later became religiously observant and had the distinction of being the first Orthodox Jew to hold elective office in New Hampshire when he was elected to serve in the state’s House of Representatives. Bedrick received his master’s degree in public policy, with a focus in education policy, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. (Photo: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Yonatan Winetraub

    Co-founder, SpaceIL

    Yonatan Winetraub, a biophysics graduate student at Stanford University and a co-founder of SpaceIL, stood on the launch site at Cape Canaveral as the organization he co-founded was about to send an Israeli spacecraft to the moon. Winetraub’s team worked with Israeli Aerospace Industries to prepare their lander Beresheet, the Hebrew word for “genesis” or “in the beginning.” While the lander unfortunately crashed, Winetraub said, “It was an amazing experience. The skies went bright yellow-orange, and the moon was just coming up as the rocket flew over the horizon.” He also hopes to influence future generations: “We can do a lot more than land on the moon. We can help inspire kids to be interested in science and engineering. We need their hearts and minds in science, and a moon lander excites them. They know that if they study now, they can build their own rocket one day.” (Photo: NASA Ames Research Center)

    ACTIVISM AND INNOVATION

  • Alyssa Milano

    Actress

    Award-winning American actress Alyssa Milano is still chalking up the hits, most recently for the Netflix comedies Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later and Insatiable. Away from the screen, Milano is a noted political and social activist who has served causes from AIDS awareness to animal rights. She helped popularize the #MeToo movement in 2017, encouraging women who experienced sexual harassment to speak out publicly. For Milano, there is no contradiction between progressive causes and solidarity with the Jewish community; for that reason, she refused to address the 2019 Women’s March because of the association of its organizers with the antisemitic leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan. “Any time that there is any bigotry or antisemitism, it needs to be called out and addressed,” Milano said. (Photo: Tom Sorensen / CC BY-SA 2.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Aviva Kempner

    Filmmaker

    The award-winning American Jewish filmmaker enjoyed further success in 2019 with the release of her documentary The Spy Behind Home Plate, the extraordinary story of baseball star Moe Berg, who was also a trained lawyer and an agent for the OSS, the US agency tasked with catching Nazi war criminals after the Holocaust. “For decades, different writers and directors have tried to tell the story of the thrilling life of Moe Berg," Kempner said. “I am proud to have made the first fact-based, feature-length documentary that does his life justice.” Her film about Berg follows her 1998 documentary The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, about the first Jewish baseball star in the Major Leagues who challenged racism and antisemitism inside and outside the park. (Photo: JBS / Screenshot)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Ben Kingsley

    Actor

    No stranger to legendary movies with a Jewish theme, Sir Ben Kingsley returned to the screen as Mossad officer Ethan Levin in 2019’s must-see movie about the rescue of Ethiopian Jews, The Red Sea Diving Resort. In a distinguished screen career spanning five decades, Kingsley has often taken on Jewish roles, most memorably as Itzhak Stern in Schindler’s List (1993). Other Jewish heroes he has played include Simon Wiesenthal in a 1989 HBO biopic, a role his close friend Wiesenthal urged him to take on, and Otto Frank in a 2002 television adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary. Kingsley is also adept at portraying history’s monsters, giving a chilling portrait of Nazi officer Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Final Solution, in 2018’s Operation Finale. (Photo: Courtesy)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez

    Singer, former MLB player

    Jennifer Lopez appeared to enjoy her August 2019 concert at Tel Aviv’s Hayarkon Park as much as the 57,000 Israelis in attendance, telling the adoring crowd “I love you" in Hebrew to wild applause. That concert took place despite pressure and harassment from the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign for Lopez to withdraw. Instead, the singer faced the Israel-haters down. “There was nothing that was gonna stop us from being in Israel,” Lopez’s manager, Benny Medina, told Israeli television. Accompanying her on the trip was her partner, former New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez, the Lopez twins, Emme and Max, and Rodriguez’s daughters, Natasha and Ella. The slugger made a point of sharing a photo via Instagram of the two megastars in Israel’s capital. “Jerusalem, you are unforgettable,” A-Rod wrote. (Photo: dvsross / CC BY 2.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Julian Edelman

    Wide receiver, New England Patriots

    They will still be talking about the New England Patriots wide receiver's stellar performance at the 2019 Super Bowl a generation from now. Awarded MVP as the Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams to take their sixth Super Bowl title, Edelman distinguished himself by catching 10 passes on 12 targets, for 141 yards. One of the stars of the Patriots team since his Rookie Year in 2009, Edelman is the first Jewish football player to be named as a Super Bowl MVP. Asked by an interviewer to describe his feelings about that honor, a deliriously happy Edelman responded by saying, “It's crazy, it's crazy! L’Chaim!” In June 2019, Edelman and other team members joined Patriots owner Robert Kraft for a visit to Israel. (Photo: Seatacular / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Karlie Kloss

    Model

    Model and Project Runway host Karlie Kloss converted to Judaism before marrying 34-year-old Jewish venture capitalist Joshua Kushner, the younger brother of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and senior adviser to US President Donald Trump. In an extensive 2019 interview with Vogue magazine, she opened up about her new faith, saying, “Some people find grounding through meditation. Some find it through exercise. And to each their own, but for me, Shabbat has brought so much meaning into my life. It helps me reconnect to the actual world.” In the same interview, Kloss emphasized that her conversion came “only after many years of studying and talking with my family and friends and soul searching. … I made the decision to fully embrace Judaism in my life and start planning for a future with the man I chose to marry.” (Photo: Myles Kalus Anak Jihem / CC BY-SA 4.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Mariano Rivera

    Former MLB player

    Since his retirement from Major League Baseball in 2013, New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, who was unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this year, has been spending more time on his philanthropic activities. His personal foundation distributes more than $500,000 annually in the US and in Rivera’s native Panama through church-based institutions. A passionate supporter of Israel through his Christian faith, Rivera spoke in July 2019 about his deepening bond with the Jewish state and its people. “As a Christian, I understand that the chosen people of God is Israel — Jewish Israel,” Rivera said in an interview. "The country was made by Him. All the other countries were made by men. This country was built by Him for His people.” (Photo: Keith Allison on Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Yehonatan Indursky and Ori Elon

    Screenwriters and filmmakers

    Two of Israel’s hottest television writers, Yehonatan Indursky and Ori Elon are the creative brains behind the hit Netflix series Shtisel, the story of an Orthodox Jewish family living in Jerusalem. Widely praised for its depiction of a group of observant Jews in the Geula neighborhood as regular people who face the common challenges of life, a third season of Shtisel was announced in May 2019. Speaking to the New Yorke magazine about the hit series earlier this year, Indursky emphasized the importance of moving beyond stereotypes. “This outlook that Haredim live in a kind of ghetto and are just waiting for the day they can escape—it’s an occupation fantasy for secular people,” he said. (Photo: n.j - n.j / GFDL)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Pink (Alecia Beth Moore)

    Singer

    It’s been a big year for pop star Pink: she unveiled her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, played to a rapturous crowd at the BRIT Awards and released her eighth album Hurts 2B Human. It’s also been a year where she’s been increasingly open and proud of her Jewish identity. When she was criticized in April for posting a photo showing her two young children running around playfully at Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, she retorted, “These two children are in actuality Jewish, as am I and the entirety of my mother’s family. The very person who constructed this believed in children being children, and to me this is a celebration of life after death. Please keep your hatred and judgment to yourselves.” (Photo: Allison / CC BY-SA 2.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Rachel Riley

    TV presenter

    British actress Tracy Ann Oberman is famous for her role as Chrissie Watts on the renowned BBC series Eastenders, one of the longest running soap operas on British television. An accomplished author and newspaper columnist, she has written several radio plays for the BBC and contributes to the Guardian newspaper. Also an outspoken critic of the antisemitism that has plagued the British Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Oberman resigned from the party in 2017. In February of this year, Oberman and fellow J-100 list member Rachel Riley launched a joint legal action against more than 60 Twitter accounts that showered them with anti-Jewish invective for challenging Labour’s antisemitism. (Photo: Courtesy)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Sacha Baron Cohen

    Actor

    British comedian and actor Sasha Baron Cohen recently said that he used to pass up offers that he feared would “typecast” him as a Jewish actor. Yet he currently stars as Mossad agent Eli Cohen in the Netflix miniseries The Spy, after he couldn’t put down Israeli director Gideon Raff’s script. “So I gave up this position of avoiding Jewish or Israeli roles,” he said. The Netflix show is based on the true story of Eli Cohen, chosen by the Mossad to infiltrate the Syrian government in the 1960s. He was given a fake identity as a wealthy Syrian businessman, but was discovered by the Syrian government and publicly hanged in 1965 in Damascus. (Photo: Joella Marano / CC BY-SA 2.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Sagi Muki

    Judoka

    Israeli prowess in the martial arts has a new face: 2019 World Judo champion Sagi Aharon Muki, a native of Netanya. Muki dropped to his knees and burst into tears after defeating Belgian judoka Matthias Casse to win the gold in the under-81 kilogram weight class at the championship finals in Tokyo, and later sang along to Israel’s national anthem “Hatikvah” as it was played for the first time at the competition. In an interview with the Algemeiner, Muki spoke about the prejudice he’d encountered in his career, as when Egyptian opponent Mohamed Abdelaal refused to bow or shake his hand after losing to him. “I’m very proud of where I am from,” he said, as he pledged to return to Tokyo in 2020 to win gold for Israel in the Olympics. (Photo: Naoki Nishimura / AFLO SPORT / Reuters)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Sarah Idan

    Model

    An Iraqi-American model, television host, musician, and beauty pageant titleholder who was crowned Miss Universe in 2017, Sarah Idan taught herself English by listening to Western pop music while still a teenager in Baghdad. The first Iraqi model to participate in the Miss Universe pageant in 45 years, Idan found herself the target of hateful attacks in her home country after she posed for a photo with Miss Israel, Adar Gandelsman. Unphased by the anger directed towards her, Idan visited Israel in 2018. “There are a lot of Iraqi people on my side, and I believe they are happy I am here,” she said. In 2019, Idan again made headlines when she declared that anti-Israel Congresswoman Ilhan Omar “does not represent me as a Muslim – nor does she represent millions of Muslims in the Middle East.” (Photo: AJC Global / Screenshot)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Tracy Ann Oberman

    Actress

    British actress Tracy Ann Oberman is famous for her role as Chrissie Watts on the renowned BBC series Eastenders, one of the longest running soap operas on British television. An accomplished author and newspaper columnist, she has written several radio plays for the BBC and contributes to the Guardian newspaper. Also an outspoken critic of the antisemitism that has plagued the British Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Oberman resigned from the party in 2017. In February of this year, Oberman and fellow J-100 list member Rachel Riley launched a joint legal action against more than 60 Twitter accounts that showered them with anti-Jewish invective for challenging Labour’s antisemitism. (Photo: Tracy Ann Oberman / CC BY-SA 3.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Zalmen Mlotek

    Conductor and composer

    The distinguished American Jewish conductor and composer Zalmen Mlotek, who studied at the Juilliard School under the legendary Leonard Bernstein, has served as the artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) for more than two decades. In 2018, Mlotek's team at the NYTF debuted Fiddler On The Roof in Yiddish at The Museum of Jewish Heritage to overwhelming critical acclaim. Originally set to run for eight weeks, the production was repeatedly extended until it was transferred to the Off-Broadway venue Stage 42, where it still runs, and where Mlotek works as musical director and conductor, except on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. An internationally recognized authority on Yiddish folk and theater music, Mlotek has lectured at Columbia University, Yeshiva University, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Bar-Ilan University in Israel. (Photo: Mlotekfamily / CC BY-SA 4.0)

    ARTS AND CULTURE

  • Adam Neumann

    Co-founder and CEO, WeWork

    Adam Neumann, co-founder and CEO of the workspace company WeWork, in recent months observed Shabbat for the first time and concluded that the experience had changed his life for the better. He now keeps Shabbat with his wife and five children. Neumann also urges others to “disconnect from their technology” to allow a connection with family and friends, and serves as an example for aspiring entrepreneurs that Judaism is compatible with the modern business world. Born in Tel Aviv, Neumann served for five years as an officer in the Israeli Navy and has said that in creating WeWork, he sought to replicate the feeling of togetherness and belonging he felt in Israel. (Photo: Reuters / Eduardo Munoz / File)

    BUSINESS

  • Andy Borans

    CEO, Alpha Epsilon Pi

    The CEO of the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) Foundation, Andy Borans was this year presented with the Order of the Lion, the Jewish student fraternity’s highest honor. Over the years, Borans has been actively involved in a number of national and international Jewish causes, including the Jewish National Fund, AIPAC, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, B’nai B’rith International, Hillel, and Chabad on Campus. A first-class communicator and advocate, Borans was effusively praised by AEPi Supreme Master Jeff Jacobson as “one of the most impactful people in AEPi’s history.” Jacobson added, “I think it’s fair to say that we wouldn’t be this strong, this large, and this influential today if it wasn’t for Andy Borans.” (Photo: Courtesy)

    COMMUNITY

  • Bernard Michael

    President and CEO, Center for Jewish History

    Bernard Michael was recently named president and CEO of the Center for Jewish History, a partnership of five Jewish history, scholarship, and art organizations in New York City: American Jewish Historical Society, American Sephardi Federation, Leo Baeck Institute New York, Yeshiva University Museum, and YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Housed in one location, the partners have separate governing bodies and finances, but share resources. The partners’ collections comprise the biggest repository of Jewish history in the United States. The Center for Jewish History also serves as a centralized place of scholarly research, events, exhibitions, and performances. Michael is a co-founder and partner of the real estate investment, development, and management firm AWH Partners and serves as president of the American Jewish Historical Society. (Photo: Courtesy)

    COMMUNITY

  • Betsy Korn and Howard Kohr

    Leadership, American Israel Public Affairs Committee

    Betsy Korn, the incoming president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and Howard Kohr, its executive director, will together steer the bipartisan organization committed to strengthening, protecting, and promoting the US-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of both nations. Korn, who started the sports business BVision Sportsmedia, once served as an AIPAC intern. Kohr, who has served in his role since 1996, shared at the March 2019 AIPAC Policy Conference some of the challenges facing American Jewry: “The scurrilous charge of dual loyalty is a signal, and that signal, amplified by today's social media, is now empowering people who have long-opposed our cause, our movement and frankly, everything we have built. Now we see the intense hatred of the Jewish state is creeping from the margins towards the center of our politics – places where political coalitions are built, places where this nation's leaders gather to debate and make decisions.” (Photo: Courtesy)

    COMMUNITY

  • Malcolm Hoenlein

    Executive vice chairman, Presidents Conference

    Malcolm Hoenlein, the US Jewish leader once described by the BBC as “the most influential private citizen in American foreign policy,” will soon step down from the helm of one of the country’s top Jewish groups after more than three decades in the position. As executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (Presidents Conference), Hoenlein established himself in diplomatic circles as a trusted confidante of key US and Israeli officials, as well as an interlocutor with senior Arab representatives and an intermediary with such leaders as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Hoenlein will stay on at the organization to help his successor, William Daroff of the Jewish Federations of North America, transition into his new role as Presidents Conference CEO. (Photo: Maxine Dovere)

    COMMUNITY

  • Marie van der Zyl

    President, Board of Deputies of British Jews

    Elected president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews in May 2018, Marie van der Zyl wasted no time in continuing the Jewish representative organization’s vocal stance against antisemitism in the British Labour Party. “Labour has failed to deal with antisemitism since the Jewish Community’s 2018 ‘Enough is Enough’ demonstration called on the Labour leadership to act against this racism," she said in February, after the resignation of a group of Labour parliamentarians over the ongoing scandal. “This is a moment of great shame for the Labour Party and a tragedy for the thousands of Jews who have supported the party for generations.” Born and brought up in London, van der Zyl still works part-time as an employment lawyer while juggling her communal responsibilities. (Photo: Board of Deputies of British Jews / Screenshot)

    COMMUNITY

  • Wendy Kahn

    National director, South African Jewish Board of Deputies

    Wendy Kahn, the first woman to become national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, is outspoken against the boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign and other anti-Israel groups, both in her home country and around the world. “We need to show them [boycott activists] up for what they are,” Kahn told the Jerusalem Post, adding, “They are using a rhetoric that wants little more than to destroy the Jewish state and has shown little in finding a lasting and sustainable solution to the tragic conflict in the Middle East. We have to expose their antisemitism. We need to expose their intimidation, which for us is anti-South African.” (Photo: Courtesy)

    COMMUNITY

  • Anne ‘Chani’ Neuberger

    Director, NSA Cybersecurity Directorate

    In July, the US National Security Agency created a new Cybersecurity Directorate, headed by Anne “Chani” Neuberger. Not only is Neuberger the highest-ranking woman in the NSA, she is also an Orthodox Jew. Neuberger grew up in Brooklyn in a family that included grandparents who survived the Holocaust. Her parents were passengers on the 1976 hijacked Air France flight rescued by Israeli commandos at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. These experiences, together with her religious faith, inform her work in the present. “I try to lead an examined life,” Neuberger reflected in a recent interview. “I try to lead a life where I’m asking myself that question: Have I earned the gift of existence, in some way?” (Photo: National Security Agency)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Aviv Kochavi

    IDF chief of staff

    Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi is the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, having taken the oath of office in January 2019. His distinguished career serving Israel’s defense requirements goes back more than three decades. During the two wars Israel was compelled to fight against Hamas terrorists in Gaza in the last 10 years, Operation Pillar of Defense and Operation Protective Edge, Kochavi served as chief of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate. A key focus for Kochavi is the changing nature of the terrorist threat faced by Israel. “The firepower the enemy will encounter in the next war will be unprecedented,” he warned this year. Any country that “allows terrorism to entrench itself in its territory will be seen as responsible for it, and suffer the consequences,” Kochavi said. (Photo: Flash90)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Benjamin Netanyahu

    Prime minister of Israel

    Israel’s longest serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, did not secure a clear election victory in the latest election and, at the time of publication, a coalition government had not been formed. While Israelis remain divided over Netanyahu’s legacy, he will likely remain an influential figure on the global political stage for years to come. The first Israeli premier to be born in Israel after statehood was established, he has arguably enabled a period of growth and prosperity, ensured regional military dominance, and fostered an international coalition against Iran, among other achievements. (Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun / File)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Benny Gantz

    Leader, Blue and White party

    Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and a newcomer to Israeli politics, leads the centrist Blue and White party. Many voters view him as an alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz certainly destabilized him in the recent elections -- though, at the time of publication, a unity government had yet to be formed. “I ask you, citizens of Israel, for the opportunity to lead the State of Israel,” Gantz said. “I promise to bolster security, fight corruption, and look out for Israelis’ day-to-day lives; to take care of the sick people in the crowded emergency rooms, students who don’t have the opportunity to succeed, neglected senior citizens and people with disabilities, and families and young people fighting to survive despite the soaring cost of living.” (Photo: Reuters / Corinna Kern)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Donald Trump

    President of the United States

    The 45th president of the United States has variously been the source of joy, pride, anxiety, and condemnation across the American Jewish community during the past year. After withdrawing from the flawed nuclear deal with Iran and moving, in accordance with American law, the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President Donald Trump has more recently been talking about a mutual defense pact with the Jewish state. Despite the unprecedented warmth in relations with Israel, Trump’s relationship with the Jewish community in his own country has at times been much more fraught, and never more so than in August 2019, when he asserted that US Jews who vote for the Democratic Party do so “either [because of] a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” Don’t expect that relationship to be any calmer as Trump campaigns for a second term in office in 2020. (Photo: White House)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Elaine Luria, Josh Gottheimer, and Max Rose

    US representatives

    US Democratic lawmakers Elaine Luria of Virginia, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Max Rose of New York, all have stood up to antisemitism as part of their official role. Both Luria and Rose are freshman lawmakers, while Gottheimer is serving a second term. Earlier this year, Gottheimer and Luria led a letter from 25 members of the Democratic Caucus urging Democratic House leadership to address and condemn recent antisemitic rhetoric from within its ranks. “We cannot remain silent in the face of hateful speech or actions. We hope that our caucus will take swift action to address these issues in the coming days by reiterating our rejection of antisemitism,” stated the letter, to which Rose was a signatory. It also stated, “We feel strongly that we cannot return to a time when it was considered fair game to question the motives, patriotism, and loyalty of some members of Congress.” (Photo: US Congress)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Eric Pickles

    UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues

    As a Conservative member of the British Parliament for more than 20 years, Eric Pickles established close ties with the UK Jewish community through his stalwart support for Israel and determined stance against antisemitism. Elevated to the House of Lords in 2018, Pickles also serves as the UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues. In that capacity, he is working with the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation to establish a new world-class learning center in London to advance Holocaust education worldwide. Lord Pickles continues to challenge antisemitism, whether on the right or the left, wherever he encounters it. In the last year, he charged conservative Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban with deploying “vivid antisemitism” and told Jeremy Corbyn of the British Labour Party that a "base and horrid" antisemitism had crystallized under his leadership. (Photo: Communities and Local Government Office / OGL v1.0)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Esther Hayut

    Chief justice, Supreme Court of Israel

    Esther Hayut, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Israel since 2017, has been outspoken about politicians’ criticism of judges, saying that Israel’s ongoing existence is a result of the “rule of law” that “keeps our nation together.” At a recent conference at the Israeli president’s residence to honor her predecessor, Justice Miriam Naor, Hayut warned that those who attack Israel’s independent judicial system pose a threat to democracy. “For the rule of the people not to turn into the tyranny of the people, we must promise to protect the rule of law and the rights of the individual, especially the rights of minorities,” she said. “The independent judiciary system and the responsibility of judiciary review are central building blocks of the system of checks and balances of Israeli government.” Hayut is expected to lead the court until 2023. (Photo: The Judicial Authority of Israel / CC BY-SA 4.0)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Hanan Melcer

    Deputy chief justice, Supreme Court of Israel

    When Deputy Chief Justice Hanan Melcer was initially named to Israel’s high court in 2007, it marked the first time in many years that a private sector lawyer was picked. In his related role as chairman of the nation’s Central Elections Committee, Melcer has overall responsibility for ensuring fairness and accuracy in voting. Israel’s recent elections provided the first test of an initiative spearheaded by Melcer to provide additional oversight in voting and in counting and analyzing the results. Prior to joining the court, he founded one of Israel's most respected law firms and was involved with the legal handling of major infrastructure projects in the country. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel / Flash90)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Jared Kushner

    White House senior adviser

    While the Trump White House has become a revolving door for presidential advisers, the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has retained his position at the heart of the administration. His main priority has been the revival of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, based on a much-heralded peace plan that emphasizes economic development and regional cooperation as well as Palestinian self-determination. “There are some things that the current Palestinian government has done well and there’s some things that are lacking,” Kushner said in an August 2019 interview. “For investors to come in and want to invest in different industry and infrastructure and create jobs, you do need to have a fair judicial system. You need to have freedom of press, freedom of expression, tolerance for all religions.” (Photo: Reuters / Kevin Lamarque / File)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Katharina von Schnurbein

    European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism

    Leading German politician Katharina von Schnurbein was appointed the first European Commission coordinator on combating antisemitism in December 2015. A graduate of Bonn and Oxford universities, von Schnurbein is now in charge of coordinating government responses to the rise of antisemitism across the European Union. Among her goals is persuading all 28 EU member-states to harmonize their legal and law enforcement provisions against Holocaust denial and similar expressions of antisemitism. In a speech to the UN General Assembly in June 2018, von Schnurbein said, “Given our history, we know, when antisemitism is on the rise, something bigger is going on.” She continued, "An unholy alliance of neo-Nazis, Islamists, and far-left extremists join in believing in a Jewish conspiracy controlling governments, the economy, and the media.” (Photo: World Jewish Congress / Screenshot)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa

    Foreign affairs minister of Bahrain

    Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, the second foreign minister in Bahrain’s history, is an important voice in the ever-changing dynamics of the Middle East. At a religious freedom summit this summer in Washington, D.C., he met with his Israeli counterpart, Yisrael Katz, who tweeted afterwards, “Another example of our growing diplomatic connections. I will continue to work with [the Israeli prime minister] to advance Israel’s relations with the Gulf countries.” At a June economic conference in Manama arranged by Jared Kushner to attract investors to the Palestinian territories, Khalifa said, "Israel is part of this heritage of this whole region, historically, so the Jewish people have a place amongst us.” (Photo: Reuters / Hamad I Mohammed / File)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Luciana Berger

    British member of Parliament

    After courageously confronting the antisemitism that has swelled throughout the British Labour Party’s ranks since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015, Jewish parliamentarian Luciana Berger finally resigned from the party earlier this year, along with several other Labour members of Parliament. By taking Corbyn on, Berger became the target of horrific antisemitic abuse on social media, much of it from Corbyn supporters. “The values I hold really dear, and which led me to join the Labour Party as a student almost 20 years ago, remain who I am,” Berger wrote in her resignation letter. Yet she added, “I cannot remain in a party that I have today come to the sickening conclusion is institutionally antisemitic.” In September 2019, Berger joined the center-left Liberal Democratic Party because of its clear opposition to Brexit, the UK’s planned departure from the European Union. (Photo: Emma Baum / CC BY-SA 3.0)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Mauro Vieira

    Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations

    Mauro Vieira, the Brazilian ambassador to the United Nations, has affirmed to the international body his country’s support for a two-state, negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Since the inauguration of Jair Bolsonaro as president earlier this year, Brazil decided to join the United States and Israel in voting against “Item 7” at the UN Human Rights Council -- a welcome reversal, after a years-long pattern of the South American nation voting against Israel at the UN, or abstaining from lending its support. The controversial “Item 7,” which was also voted against by European Union nations and Japan, ensures that the Human Rights Council singles out Israel for discussion at every session. No other country in the world faces a similar review. (Photo: Ministério das Relações Exteriores / CC BY-NC 2.0)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Mike Pompeo

    United States secretary of state

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continues to champion support for Israel and opposition to Iranian aggression in the Middle East as cornerstones of American foreign policy. “We came in when an administration had cozied up to Iran, had given them a pathway to a nuclear-weapons system,” Pompeo said in an interview in August 2019. “We’ve fundamentally flipped that.” In terms of the Trump administration’s proposals for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Pompeo stressed that Israel’s security needs remain the paramount concern. The administration has a plan “that protects Israel, that protects the security interests of Israel, and we would never step in or recommend an outcome that presented risk to them,” Pompeo said. Referring to Israeli efforts to push the Iranian military and its terrorist allies out of Syria and Lebanon, Pompeo declared that the US would support Israel, saying, “Each time Israel has been forced to take actions to defend itself, the United States has made it very clear that that country has not only the right, but the duty to protect its own people. And we are always supportive of their efforts to do that.” (Photo: Mandel Ngan / Pool via Reuters)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Reuven Rivlin

    President of Israel

    Reuven Rivlin, the 10th and current president of Israel, is hard at work to forge a unity government during a time of fractious politics in Israel. An experienced politician, Rivlin said he sought a broad coalition after a second round of elections failed to provide a clear winner, with the Likud and Blue and White parties almost evenly matched. “The nation expects you to find a solution and prevent additional elections, even if it means paying a personal or ideological price,” said Rivlin, adding that the Israeli public wanted a stable government. (Photo: Mark Neyman / Government Press Office, Israel)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Richard Grenell

    United States ambassador to Germany

    Since his appointment as US ambassador to Germany in May 2018, Richard Grenell has gained a reputation as one of America’s most determined and outspoken representatives abroad. A veteran of politics and diplomacy -- he was the longest-serving US spokesman at the United Nations, and later the first openly gay spokesperson for a Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney -- Grenell has not shied away from challenging the German government and Europe more widely over its commercial relationship with the Iranian regime. In September 2019, Grenell called on the German government to fully ban Iran’s terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. “The EU maintains an artificial differentiation between the military and political arm of Hezbollah,” Grenell said in an interview. By contrast, the US remains “true to our principles and classifies Hezbollah as what it is: a terror organization.” (Photo: US Consulate Munich)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Sajid Javid

    Chancellor of the exchequer

    Appointed chancellor of the exchequer by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July 2019, Sajid Javid is a key player among the new crop of Conservative Party politicians who have pushed energetically for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. Previously the first Muslim to serve as British home secretary, Javid maintains excellent relations with the Jewish community and is an unabashed supporter of Israel. Dispatched on an official visit to the Jewish state soon after becoming chancellor, Javid described the trip as a “privilege.” A bold voice against rising hatred of Jews in Britain, Javid has spoken of his determination “to safeguard our Jewish communities from this creeping antisemitism which not only fuels hate crime, but also extremism and even terrorism.” (Photo: Reuters / Peter Nicholls)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Sandra Jovel

    Foreign affairs minister of Guatemala

    Sandra Jovel has served as Guatemala’s foreign affairs minister since 2017. During her tenure, the Central American nation moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the only nation besides the United States to do so. Jovel, who traveled to Israel for the Guatemalan embassy inauguration, hailed her nation’s “important Jewish community” and called Jerusalem “the eternal capital of Israel.” She also said, “We are doing the right thing in accordance with the foreign policy that Guatemala has had toward Israel over the past 70 years.” Guatemala’s embassy in Israel was the country’s first in Asia. (Photo: Valenzuela.jm / CC BY-SA 4.0)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Ted Deutch

    US representative

    Congressman Ted Deutch, a Democrat representing Florida, advocates passionately and consistently for a strong US-Israel relationship. Deutch, who is Jewish, serves as ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s influential Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, where he champions Israel’s security during a time of great volatility in the Middle East. He routinely introduces legislation that strives to improve bilateral security and economic ties, such as the recent US-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act, which passed the House this summer. Deutch also introduced a bipartisan resolution to condemn the deadly 1994 attack on the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, or AMIA, Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, and call for the suspected Iranian and Hezbollah operatives behind the massacre to be held accountable. And in June 2019, he was part of a bipartisan group of US representatives who sent a letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, urging her to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group. (Photo: US Congress)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Viorica Dăncilă

    Prime minister of Romania

    Viorica Dăncilă, the prime minister of Romania, said her country would move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem in a surprise announcement at this year’s opening session of AIPAC’s policy conference. She called President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem an “admirable and courageous step [that] impressed me, my government, and the Romanian people.” She added, “This gesture also launched an international reflection process.” But hours later, the statement was strongly contradicted by the country’s president, Klaus Iohannis, who has a final say on foreign policy issues. Dăncilă, a former member of the European Parliament, is the country’s first female prime minister. (Photo: Reuters / Ammar Awad)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Yossi Cohen

    Director of Mossad

    The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, Yossi Cohen is a distinguished veteran of the Israeli military who served in the Paratroopers Brigade before being honorably discharged. Fluent in English, Arabic, and French, Cohen ran covert operations for the Mossad in several countries before becoming head of the agency. In September 2019, Cohen revealed some of the details of the Israeli operation that successfully captured the Iranian nuclear weapons planning archive exposed to the world by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu one year earlier. “In total, there were 55,000 documents, pictures, and videos that helped expose the big Iranian lie. The operation proved that the impossible – the impossible and inconceivable – was conceivable,” Cohen said. (Photo: Flash90)

    GOVERNMENT

  • Arthur Fried

    Board member, The AVI CHAI Foundation

    The AVI CHAI Foundation, which completes its grantmaking December 31, 2019, has benefited for many years from the dedication of Arthur Fried, current board member and founding trustee, and former chairman. Fried helped the foundation realize its stated mission of “strengthening Judaism, Jewish literacy, and Jewish tradition; promoting mutual understanding among Jews of differing religious orientations; and sustaining, enlarging, and enriching Jewish commitment to the State of Israel.”. Specifically, Fried developed AVI CHAI’s philanthropic portfolio in the former Soviet Union and oversaw the start of its spend-down planning, according to the foundation. He served as chairman of the organization from 1990 to 2012. (Photo: Courtesy)

    PHILANTHROPY

  • Gail Asper

    President and a trustee, The Asper Foundation

    Canadian philanthropist Gail Asper is working on establishing a new museum in Tel Aviv to showcase generations of Jewish achievement -- a fitting gift for Israel’s 75th birthday in 2023, by when the ambitious project aims to be complete. She wants for the World Jewish Museum to serve as a story of celebration and Jewish innovation in all fields. Asper has a successful track record; in 2014, she launched a $350 million award-winning human rights museum in Winnipeg, her hometown. She took on that project after her father, entrepreneur and philanthropist Izzy Alper, passed away. The Canadian Museum of Human Rights was the first national museum in nearly 50 years established outside Ottawa. (Photo: Courtesy)

    PHILANTHROPY

  • Morris Kahn

    Entrepreneur

    Israeli software entrepreneur Morris Kahn founded SpaceIL, an ambitious non-profit that aimed to be the first private entity to softly land a craft on the moon. While the Beresheet probe crashed close to landing, the mission was still seen as worthwhile. Kahn was a major supporter of the effort, covering some 40 percent of the $100 million mission. Immediately after the April 11 lunar-landing attempt, Kahn said, “We’re going to actually build a new ‘halalit,’ a new spacecraft. We’re going to put it on the moon, and we're going to complete the mission.” (Photo: Dafna.liza / CC BY-SA 4.0)

    PHILANTHROPY

  • Sylvan Adams

    Businessman

    Sylvan Adams, a Canadian philanthropist and former real estate developer, has funded meaningful activities in both Canada and Israel, where he now resides. He is one of the major funders of SpaceIL, the non-profit organization that worked toward landing the first Israeli spacecraft on the moon. Adams, a competitive road and track cyclist, founded the Sylvan Adams Cycling Network in Tel Aviv to promote the sport in Israel, and invested in the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute at Tel Aviv University campus -- an effort "to enable Israel to be the startup sporting nation," said Adams. He is also a co-owner of the Israel Cycling Academy, the nation’s first professional cycling team, and sponsored the building of the Sylvan Adams Velodrome in Tel Aviv, the first Olympic velodrome in the Middle East. (Photo: TAUVOD / Screenshot)

    PHILANTHROPY

  • Abdul Hadi Palazzi

    Secretary general of the Italian Muslim Assembly

    Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, secretary general of the Italian Muslim Assembly, continues to provide measured views about the State of Israel. He holds that the return of the Jews to Israel, as well as the establishment of the Jewish state, are in accordance with the teachings of Islam, and accepts Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem. Palazzi, also a director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, condemns fundamentalism and fanaticism and promotes interfaith dialogue between Jews and Christians, among other religions. He holds a doctorate degree in Islamic sciences from the Institute for Islamic Studies and Research in Naples. (Photo: LES GLASSMAN / Screenshot)

    RELIGION

  • Adin Steinsaltz

    Talmudic scholar

    A prominent rabbi, as well as an accomplished student of physics, chemistry, and mathematics, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz has dedicated his life to introducing his fellow Jews to the wisdom of the Talmud. He is perhaps the most prolific scholar on Jewish texts -- and has translated the Talmud from Aramaic to Hebrew. In late 2018, Steinsaltz and the Koren publishing house released the Steinsaltz Humash, an English version of the rabbi's translation and commentary on the Tanakh -- complete with colored photos, maps, charts, illustrations, and more. (Photo: Director5772 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

    RELIGION

  • David Lau

    Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel

    Rabbi David Lau, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, has not shied away from controversy since he was elected to the post in 2013. Lau, the former chief rabbi of Modi’in, was the first Israeli rabbi to teach “responsa,” or Jewish legal decisions, via the internet. He is the son of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who served as the chief Ashkenazi rabbi between 1993 and 2003. Recently, Rabbi David Lau took a remarkable stance in support of “agunot,” women who are refused a Jewish divorce by their husbands. He reportedly ordered the prevention of the burial of the mother of a Jewish man who for 15 years had not given his spouse a Jewish divorce. (Photo: Gershon Elinson / Flash90)

    RELIGION

  • Gabriel Davidovich

    Chief rabbi of Argentina

    In February 2019, Argentinian Chief Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich was brutally beaten in his home, suffering nine broken ribs and a punctured lung. He has alleged that the attackers told him during the home invasion that they knew he was the rabbi of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish Center, which was targeted in 1994 in what the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack to date. The Argentinian Jewish community, the largest in South America, has demanded that police approach the attack as a hate crime, arguing that its vicious nature suggests careful planning as well as knowledge of the victim’s identity. To date, at least six suspects have been arrested. (Photo: AMIA)

    RELIGION

  • Jeffrey Myers

    Rabbi of of Tree of Life*Or L’Simcha Congregation

    It was the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in the history of the United States: 11 worshippers cruelly murdered by an antisemitic gunman who attacked Shabbat services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. In that moment of unprecedented tragedy, Rabbi Jeffrey Meyers displayed a calm heroism as he ushered several of his congregants to safety. “[The gunman] was in the lobby,” Myers recalled. “My gut told me that it was a semiautomatic, and that’s how I knew I had to act immediately to save as many people as I could.” In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh massacre, Myers is focusing his energies on curbing hate speech against Jews and other minorities. “Hate speech led to the death of seven of my congregants and 11 total in my building,” he said. (Photo: Courtesy)

    RELIGION

  • Mark Golub

    CEO and executive producer, Jewish Broadcasting Service

    Rabbi Mark Golub and his Fort Lee-based Jewish Broadcasting Service (JBS) continue to attract viewers who hold diverse opinions, as it advances discussion about issues of importance to the Jewish people and Israel. “I have a unique perspective among American rabbis,” said Golub, a Reform rabbi, adding, “I grew up with Orthodoxy on one side, and Reconstructionism on the other. And when my parents married, they created a Conservative household.” It is therefore no surprise that a range of Jewish leaders – from Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street to Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America – have appeared on JBS. The non-profit Jewish educational network is now in more than 40 million homes. “We have created a sense of Jewish community for Jews who don’t have access to it in any other way,” Golub said. (Photo: JBS / Screenshot)

    RELIGION

  • Moshe Kotlarsky

    Vice chairman, Chabad’s Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch

    Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky is the vice chairman of the educational arm of the Chabad movement, which counts among its ranks more than 4,000 religious and educational institutions worldwide. Born in Brooklyn, Kotlarsky continues to live in the Crown Heights section of the New York City borough with his wife and family. Known in Chabad circles as known as “Judaism’s Globe Trotter,” in September 2019, Kotlarsky opened the latest branch of Chabad in the central African nation of Rwanda. Other significant milestones for Kotlarsky this year included the opening of the first mikveh in South Korean capital of Seoul, where he delivered the keynote speech at the dedication ceremony. (Photo:
    kinushashluchim
    / Screenshot)

    RELIGION

  • Yehuda Krinsky

    Chairman, Chabad’s Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch

    The chairman of the educational arm Chabad movement, Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky began his career as an emissary of the legendary Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. “Today, in my estimation, Chabad-Lubavitch is the largest Jewish organization in the world,” Krinsky said in a 2019 interview. “You have over 3,500 Batei Chabad [Chabad Houses] all over the world, and along with spreading Torah and mitzvot, our people save people in natural disasters. ... They save non-Jews, too.” Among the world leaders with whom Krinsky enjoys a close relationship is Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He spoke about Chabad like a shaliach (emissary),” Krinsky said of one of his meetings with the Russian leader. (Photo:
    kinushashluchim
    / Screenshot)

    RELIGION

  • Yitzhak Yosef

    Sephardi chief rabbi of Israel

    Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has served as Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi since 2013, heads Yeshivat Hazon Ovadia, and authored the widely-cited set of Jewish law books Yalkut Yosef, which aim to give Halachic guidance to Sephardic and Mizrachi Jews. Yosef, who has made controversial statements, in 2018 called for international military intervention against the Assad regime in Syria. He interestingly called this summer for increased pool safety for children. (Photo: Mark Neyman / Government Press Office, Israel)

    RELIGION

  • Liora Rez

    Executive director, StopAntisemitism.org

    Liora Rez is helping spearhead the battle against online antisemitism in her role as executive director of StopAntisemitism.org. Having worked as a social media influencer since 2013 under the name “Jewish Chick,” Rez joined forces with several concerned individuals in 2018 to battle the antisemitism she encountered on the internet. “The rise of antisemitism is a symptom of a bigger issue as hatred and bigotry in America are moving beyond just racism against Jews,” Rez has said. “Our goal is to keep antisemites accountable and create consequences for their hatred and racist actions by substantiating the fact that they are the enemies of the American people and conflict with American values and morals.” (Photo: Courtesy)

    TOMORROW

  • Ofir Dayan

    President, Columbia Students Supporting Israel

    Ofir Dayan, president of the Columbia University pro-Israel student group Students Supporting Israel, has worked toward advocating for the Jewish state ever since her plane first touched down in New York. Most recently, she helped to convince student groups to reject a controversial effort to divest from eight companies because their ties to Israel. Dayan said the vote was an accomplishment for “what is right and just” and for the Jewish and Zionist communities at the Ivy League university. “The student council decided to reaffirm their commitment to make them feel safe on campus,” she said. Dayan, who enrolled at Columbia after three years of IDF service, is the daughter of Israel’s consul-general in New York, Dani Dayan. (Photo: Courtesy)

    TOMORROW

  • Or Na’aman

    Israel Defense Forces captain

    Israel Defense Forces Capt. Or Na’aman has been recognized for her excellent command of the air force battalion that intercepted Syrian aircraft over the Golan Heights in 2018. Na’aman led the Patriot missile battery that shot down a Syrian drone that penetrated some six miles into Israeli airspace. She was responsible for intercepting a Syrian fighter jet that breached Israeli airspace a couple of weeks later. Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin, in praising Na’aman’s abilities, said, “You both learned and taught your soldiers how to perform under pressure and led them to a high level of operational readiness. You not only were successful in the mission, but gained the trust and confidence of your commanders and subordinates.” (Photo: IDF)

    TOMORROW

  • Sacha Ghozlan

    President, French Union of Jewish Students

    The outspoken president of the French Union of Jewish Students, Sacha Ghozlan is on the front lines of the battle against antisemitism in France, where violent assaults have plagued the Jewish community alongside constant agitation from professional antisemites like Alain Soral, a notorious Holocaust denier, and Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who presents himself as a comedian. “Antisemitism is coming from the far-left, from the far-right, from radicalized Muslims — they are the ones who target French Jewish students in universities,” Ghozlan told the Algemeiner in March 2019. “People are dying in Europe because of this kind of ideology, this kind of hate speech.” (Photo: Ibuka France / Screenshot)

    TOMORROW

  • Adam Kirsch

    Poet and literary critic

    Esteemed poet and literary critic Adam Kirsch, called “one of today’s keenest critics” and “the hope for Jewish literature,” is the author of 10 books, including his recently published collection of essays Who Wants to be a Jewish Writer? In this work, he explores the intersection of poetry and religion, with a particular focus on Jewish literature and whether it can even be defined. He also serves as poetry editor of the New Criterion, and regularly contributes to the Atlantic, New Yorker, and Tablet, among other publications. (Photo: Courtesy)

    VOICES

  • Andrei Piontkovsky

    Political analyst

    Andrei Piontkovsky is considered one of the most pro-Israel Russian political analysts, observers say, and doesn’t shy away from criticizing the motives of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Piontkovsky, also a mathematician, recently suggested that Putin’s decision to sell air defense missiles to Iran would actually destabilize the region and drive up the price of oil, which may be his goal. The analyst reportedly said that Israel would likely feel compelled to launch a military strike at Iranian facilities in the near future before the Russian systems go operational, which could trigger a broader regional conflict. He also said that “if Israel does not act now, the world is likely to confront a nuclear-armed Iran in the near term, something that could lead other countries in the oil-rich region to try to go nuclear and compel them to raise prices.” (Photo: Dmitry Rozhkov / CC BY-SA 3.0)

    VOICES

  • Ariel Burger

    Author

    Witness: Lessons from Elie’s Wiesel’s Classroom, Ariel Burger’s latest book, won the National Jewish Book Award for biography. Burger, a protégé of the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, said he was driven to write the book because he wanted readers "to feel the experience of being in class with Professor Wiesel, to hear his voice and imagine his face." Witness deftly explores the works Wiesel taught, which include biblical texts, the teachings of Chasidic rebbes and classics of Western literature. An Orthodox rabbi, Burger received his doctorate in Jewish Studies and Conflict Resolution under Wiesel at Boston University. (Photo: Courtesy)

    VOICES

  • Bill Maher

    Television host

    The American comedian, political commentator, and television host is known for the HBO political talk show Real Time with Bill Maher and the late-night show called Politically Incorrect, originally on Comedy Central and later on ABC. In 2019, Maher aimed his abrasive satirical style against the controversial boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign targeting Israel. To the warm applause of his studio audience, Maher denounced the campaign to isolate the Jewish state as "a b***s*** purity test by people who want to appear woke but actually slept through history class.” Not quite done, he also criticized the antisemitic comments of Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar, saying her words meant that “it’s out there: Jews control the world, control the money.” (Photo: Angela George / CC BY 3.0)

    VOICES

  • Dominic Green

    Life and Arts editor, Spectator USA

    Dominic Green, a critic, historian, and the Life and Arts editor of Spectator USA, writes widely about current affairs that include antisemitism and Israel. He has an international audience and also contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal. He has a nuanced approach to President Donald Trump, writing in a recent column, “It isn’t accurate to characterize the Democrats the way Trump did last March, as ‘totally anti-Israel’ and ‘anti-Jewish.’It would be more accurate to say that the Democratic left, the party of Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Keith Ellison, harbors an obsessional loathing of Israel that frequently shades into antisemitism.” His forthcoming book is The Religious Revolution, a history of modern spirituality. (Photo: Courtesy)

    VOICES

  • Edward L. Greenstein

    Professor, Bar-Ilan University

    A professor emeritus of Bible at Bar-Ilan University who has spent years studying the Book of Job, Edward L. Greenstein’s recently-published Job: A New Translation has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an “excellent, accessible translation that supports his new interpretation of the famous text.” The book, according to its publisher, relies on Greenstein's "decades of intensive research and painstaking philological and literary analysis," and offers a fresh perspective -- that Job "was defiant of God until the end." (Photo: barilanuniversity / Screenshot)

    VOICES

  • Franz-Olivier Giesbert

    Journalist

    Franz-Olivier Giesbert, a French journalist, author, and television host, is a vocal defender of Israel in French media. Earlier this year, Giesbert commended French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks to leaders of the Jewish community that the government would take steps to define “anti-Zionism as a modern-day form of antisemitism.” Giesbert also has supported the United States’ decision to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. His latest book, Le Schmock (The Schmuck), explores through its fictional characters why Nazism was able to take hold in Germany. (Photo: Thesupermat / CC BY-SA 3.0)

    VOICES

  • Gisèle Littman

    Author

    Gisèle Littman, an Egyptian-born British author who writes under the pen name Bat Ye’or -- Hebrew for “Daughter of the Nile” -- has focused much of her writing on European politics and the conditions faced by non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East, including in her most well-known work, The Dhimmi. Littman’s writing initially was seen as controversial because she was not affiliated with an institution of higher learning. Scholar Robert Wistrich once noted, “Up until the 1980s, she was not accepted at all. In academic circles they scorned her publications. Only when Bernard Lewis published the book 'Jews of Islam' with quotations from Bat Ye'or did they begin to pay any attention to her. A real change toward her emerged in the 1990s, and especially in recent years.” She is the author of eight books. (Photo: Courtesy)

    VOICES

  • Jake Tapper

    Journalist

    Jake Tapper, an award-winning journalist for CNN, has forcefully responded to some of his detractors, including Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and former Women's March co-chair Linda Sarsour. In August 2019, in the wake of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Tlaib criticized Tapper for “comparing Palestinian human rights advocates to terrorist white nationalists,” calling it “fundamentally a lie.” In response, Tapper said that “those who believe Palestinian leaders bear responsibility for the incitement of terrorism cannot then let US leaders off the hook and act as if words don’t matter.” Tapper, a practicing Jew, is also the author of The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, a bestselling book about US troops in Afghanistan. (Photo: Chad J. McNeeley)

    VOICES

  • Julian Reichelt

    Editor-in-chief, Bild

    The editor-in-chief of Germany’s leading tabloid newspaper Bild, Julian Reichelt has been a powerful voice in the fight this year against rising antisemitism in his country. In May, after Germany’s top official for combating antisemitism warned that it was not safe for Jews to wear a kippah “everywhere, all the time,” Reichelt published a cut-out-and-keep kippah on the front page of Bild, alongside an editorial headlined, “The kippah belongs in Germany.” If Jews were scared to wear visible symbols of their identity, “then we have failed in the face of our history,” Reichelt wrote. “Wear it, so that your friends and neighbors can see it. Explain to your children what the kippah is. Post a photograph with the kippah on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Go out onto the streets with it.” (Photo: © Superbass / CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

    VOICES

  • Lachlan Murdoch

    Chairman and CEO, Fox Corporation

    Lachlan Murdoch, the eldest son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, became chairman and CEO of the Fox Corporation after it was acquired by Disney in March 2019, cementing his status as heir to the Murdoch business empire. The entity’s flagship Fox News channel has by and large provided fair coverage of the State of Israel. Lachlan Murdoch, who previously served as executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, is also co-chairman of the mass media company News Corp. (Photo: Eva Rinaldi / CC BY-SA 2.0)

    VOICES

  • Matti Friedman

    Journalist

    Author and journalist Matti Friedman, a op-ed contributor at the New York Times, has used his platform to hold the publication accountable for its coverage of Israel. Earlier this year, he wrote a piece critical of the Times’ reporting that West Bank settlers are to blame for Israel’s problem. Friedman earlier made headlines by writing a scathing criticism in an extended Facebook post of the report from NGO Breaking the Silence on the conduct of Israeli soldiers during the 2014 Gaza war. A former reporter for the Associated Press, Friedman also has drawn attention for an extensive critique, published by Tablet magazine, of the agency’s coverage of Israel. His latest book, Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel, chronicles the story of four Arabic-speaking Jews who operated an Israeli, pre-independence Zionist intelligence unit. It won the 2018 Natan Book Award. (Photo: Arielinson / CC BY-SA 4.0)

    VOICES

  • Nicole Krauss

    Author

    Internationally bestselling Jewish-American author Nicole Krauss said she wrote her fourth and most recent work, Forest Dark, "out of the depths of lifelong reflections on Israel," according to the Times of Israel. The Financial Times praised the novel, which features two Jewish protagonists who travel to Israel from New York, as "a richly layered masterpiece … [that] does what only the very best fiction can do – startles, challenges and enlightens the reader, while showing the familiar world anew.” Krauss’ third novel, Great House, won an Anisfield-Wolf Book award and was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize, as was her second novel, The History of Love, which was awarded the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. (Photo: Amrei-Marie / CC BY-SA 4.0)

    VOICES

  • Paul Gigot

    Editorial page editor and vice president, The Wall Street Journal

    Paul Gigot, editorial page editor and vice president of the Wall Street Journal, arguably oversees one of the most pro-Israel editorial pages among US mainstream news publications. A Pulitzer Prize winner, Gigot also moderates the television series Journal Editorial Report, which is broadcast on Fox News. A March 2019 editorial on the Golan Heights, for instance, took a measured approach to the US recognition, by way of a tweet from President Donald Trump, of Israeli sovereignty over the region. “This time his tweet was based on more than personal impulse and makes sense for American and Israeli interests,” it argued. (Photo: Preston Keres)

    VOICES

  • Ronen Bergman

    Journalist

    Israeli journalist and author Ronen Bergman is known around the world for his astute political and military analyses. He has most recently made headlines for his book Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations, which received international acclaim and was just released in paperback. Based on hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents, the book “traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign and special operations, which have profoundly affected the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world,” Bergman said. Inspiration for the book’s title came from the Talmudic verse, “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” (Photo: Dor Malka / CC BY-SA 4.0)

    VOICES

  • Sarah Hurwitz

    Speechwriter

    Sarah Hurwitz, a former speechwriter for Hillary Clinton and Michelle and Barack Obama, aimed to show others that “Judaism is worth choosing” in her recent book Here All Along: Finding Meaning, Spirituality, and a Deeper Connection to Life -- in Judaism. Hurwitz’s sources for the book are a politically and religiously diverse group that includes Joseph Telushkin, Dennis Prager, Jonathan Sacks, Lawrence Hoffman, Ze’ev Maghen, Yoram Hazony, Shai Held, Avi Weiss, Shaye Cohen, Adam Kirsch, Jonathan Rosen, Art Green, Elliot Dorff, Donniel Hartman, Judith Shulevitz, and Elie Kaunfer. She draws from them in chapters about the Torah, prayer, the Sabbath, Jewish holidays, and death. Hurwitz is also a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. (Photo: Thor Brødreskift / Nordiske Mediedager / CC BY-SA 2.0)

    VOICES

  • William Jacobson

    Professor, Cornell University

    An American lawyer and scholar who is an expert in securities arbitration, William Jacobson is a leading critic of the academic boycott of Israel and the anti-Zionist boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign as a whole. Jacobson, who is on the faculty of Cornell University’s law school, is also the founder and publisher of Legal Insurrection, a conservative news blog. He frequently makes media appearances and speaks at events across the nation. Earlier this year at Cornell, the student government rejected a BDS resolution by a vote of 15-14, with one abstention. Jacobson responded, “The point of BDS on campuses is not actually the boycott, divestment or sanction itself. BDS is just a tactic to dominate campus life and energy in the cause of demonizing Israel.” (Photo: C-SPAN / Screenshot)

    VOICES

  • Yossi Klein-Halevi

    Author

    One of Israel’s leading authors and commentators, Yossi Klein-Halevi’s celebrated collection of books includes 2013’s Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided A Nation. Halevi's most recent book, titled Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, was published in 2018. In that volume, Halevi set out the case for Zionism and an independent Jewish state to his interlocutor, Palestinian academic Mohammed Dajani. Despite the novel nature of the project, Klein-Halevi does not believe that his book is sufficient to bring about a peaceful settlement, as that is a task for politicians. “I’m only a writer, not a politician,” he said in an interview this year. “My writer’s responsibility is to try to model what a respectful disagreement over irreconcilable narratives would sound like.” (Photo: Rachelgr713 / CC BY-SA 3.0)

    VOICES

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