What’s in a list? The actual list items, of course. But any list also reflects the values, the proclivities, the quirks of its compiler.
And we want ours to include yours.
I’m talking about the Forward 50, our annual compendium of the American Jews who have had the most influence on the news, culture, society, conversation. This will be the list’s 25th year, its silver anniversary if you will, and we’d love your help in making sure it shines.
Use this form to nominate someone you think should be in this year’s Forward 50
I am brand-new to the Forward, having taken on the role of Editor-in-Chief in September, after more than two decades at The New York Times. But I’m not brand-new to the Forward 50: I made the list myself in 2012, months after becoming Jerusalem bureau chief of The Times.
Now I’m suddenly the list maker, thinking about how to extend the Forward 50 tradition in this, our first year as a digital-only publication in an increasingly polarized world.
In the list’s early years, publicists peppered my predecessors to get their clients on our beloved (and sometimes hate-read) list, whose membership was a state secret until the special issue came out. Those who made the Forward 50 put it prominently on their bios. Some names, famous rabbis or the heads of prominent organizations, appeared year after year.
Others, like Bernie Madoff in 2009, were likely not so proud to be included. And in 2004, the editors added No. 51 to celebrate a non-Jew: Madonna.
Our journalists have begun nominations, but we believe digital journalism is a conversation with readers, so we’d love you to join the process.
Do you know a clergy person or lay leader who is reinventing religious or communal life? A creative type who makes you see the world anew? An activist who is truly changing it? A teacher who is having an extraordinary impact on the next generation? A kid who is making adults think differently?
Using this form, please share their names and a bit of their story. The only criteria is that they be American, and Jewish (however you define those). We may get in contact with you to learn more, and we’ll let you know when the list is published so you can share it.
Who knows. Someone may just be nominating you.
Jodi Rudoren became Editor-in-Chief of The Forward, the nation’s oldest independent Jewish news organization, in September 2019 after more than two decades as a reporter and editor at The New York Times. She is helping lead a transformation of the storied 123-year-old institution, a nonprofit that went digital-only in early 2019.