I have always enjoyed looking through the “Forward 50” and finding many people who I respect and admire recognized for their good work. So I was surprised and disappointed to see David Yerushalmi and Jennifer Rubin included in this year’s list.
Yerushalmi’s fear-mongering campaign against Islamic law — Shariah — should be an embarrassment to the Jewish community. The religious freedom enshrined in our First Amendment has allowed religion broadly and Judaism specifically to flourish in the United States. For a whole host of reasons, the anti-Shariah movement is a danger to our religious freedom, demeaning to the American Muslim community and a threat to all people of faith. Rubin’s rush to judgment about the perpetrators of the Norwegian massacre is only slightly less alarming.
I recognize these types of lists highlight people of influence and that that influence can often be negative as well as positive. But with a headline like “Celebrate the 50” and with a stated goal “to elevate the impactful work of American Jews,” that’s not what this list purports to be. Though Yerushalmi and Rubin’s impact is undeniable, it should not be celebrated.
Next year, please give me a list to celebrate — or at least one more appropriately framed.
Deputy Director for Public Policy, Interfaith Alliance
New York, N.Y.