In an annual tradition, the staff of this newspaper compiles a list of the 50 people who have made an imprint in the past year on the ways in which American Jews view the world and relate to each other. The Forward 50 has come to resemble an annual snapshot of American Jewry, with all its power, promise and imperfections — an opportunity to assess not only who is who, but where we are headed and who is leading us there.
The list has never been based on a scientific survey, but rather on the informed judgments of journalists who have immersed themselves in telling the Jewish story on the pages of this storied newspaper. Mindful of the need to be comprehensive and balanced, the list reflects not only those who have influenced the halls of power, but those who have left a mark — positive or not — on American Jewish cultural, communal, educational, philanthropic, commercial, social and religious life. The whole megillah.
We approach the 2008 edition of the Forward 50, which will be published in our November 21 issue, in that spirit. This year, however, we also invite you, our readers, to send us your nominations. This won’t be yet another election — the final choice of those 50 names remains with the Forward’s staff. But in an American Jewish community as vast, diverse, fragmented and fascinating as ours, it’s imperative to broaden the conversation.
To participate, e-mail your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and explain why your nominee merits inclusion in this year’s Forward 50. Also, please include your name and contact information. The deadline for nominations is Friday, October 17.