Naming America's top 50 rabbis for 2013, Newsweek magazine and the Daily Beast website presented a highly versatile list, consisting of orthodox, reform, and conservative rabbis, among whom 13 women.
Against the backdrop of recurring incidents of women exclusion in Israeli society, US Jewry placed Sharon Brous, a conservative LA rabbi, at the top of the list, noting that she "has become a magnet for LA’s young, unaffiliated Jews."
Orthodox rabbi Sara Hurwitz, 36, came in at 16th place, after stirring controversy in the world of orthodox Jewry in the US, as Rabbi Avi Weiss ordained her Rabba, essentially making her the first orthodox woman to assume the title.
The list consists of 15 orthodox rabbis, 15 reform, 14 conservative and six from other denominations. Another controversial figure, coming in at 36th place, is Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, 46, author of Kosher Sex: A Recipe for Passion and Intimacy, and Kosher Jesus, two books which drew both criticism and acclaim.
Ranked 41 is Rabbi Matisyahu Salomon, the spiritual leader of a haredi yeshiva in New Jersey. Matisyahu is one of only few ultra-orthodox rabbis to make it on the list, a fact indicative of the relatively low influence the haredi sects have in US Jewry.
Rabbi Shaul Praver, last on the list, is the rabbi of Congregation Adath Israel, in Newtown, Connecticut. Following the December 14, 2012 massacre in Newtown, Praver was a source of comfort to a shocked community, specifically to his congregant Veronique Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was killed in the shooting.
During the December 16 memorial service for the 20 children and six educators who died when a gunman opened fire in Newtwon's Sandy Hook Elementary School, Praver sang “El Maleh Rachamim" for the victims.