Senator George Allen (R-Va) Named as '51st' in Forward 50 List to Be Published by America's Most Influential Jewish Newspaper November 10th
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Posted: November 08 2006

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8 November 2006 (Jewswire.com) - Senator George Allen (R-Va.) was slow to acknowledge his Jewish roots, but America's influential Jewish newspaper, the Forward, has definitively declared him the 51st member on the annual FORWARD 50 list of the most influential members of the American Jewish community. Publishing date for this much anticipated issue is November 10th.

This year, the Forward 50 list again traverses the diverse territory that is American Jewry -- the famous and infamous, comedic and tragic, with more Jewish outsiders than well-known insiders that have had an impact this past year.

The Forward's Top Five includes the Daily Show's Jon Stewart (Leibowitz), whom the Forward dubs "the most visible Jew in America"; Anti Defamation League honcho Abe Foxman, for rallying against the Christian evangelical right and for emerging as a top target of critics of the pro-Israel lobby, and Professor Arnold Eisen, newly appointed as the first non-rabbinic head of the Jewish Theological Seminary, the Rabbinical Seminary of Conservative Judaism.

In addition to the Top Five, this year's most influential list features individuals whose influence falls within specific areas: Politics, Law and (dis)Order, Ideas and Activism, Culture, Philanthropy, Community and the special "Plus One" slot for the ham-handed (and still ham eating) senator.

"This year's Forward 50 reflects the rapidly changing landscape of Jewish life in America -- on the one hand, the growing visibility and acceptance of proud, self-affirming Jewish cultural figures like Jon Stewart, and on the other hand, the struggle of Jewish community leaders like Abe Foxman and Arnie Eisen to defend Jewish interests and preserve a sense of community in an increasingly divided and dangerous world," said the Forward's editor-in-chief J.J. Goldberg. "As for our choice of Scarlett Johansson, that reflects our own belief in God's grace."

Topping the Forward 50 first-timers list is the voluptuous Golden Globe actress, Scarlett Johansson, who has finally cured Woody Allen of his "shiksa" fetish. Also making their Forward 50 debuts are the U.K. born, but U.S. domiciled, Sacha Baron Cohen, who turns satirical anti-Semitism into high art in his newly released "Borat" movie. This year's list also features superstar songstress Barbra Streisand -- because she can still sell out Madison Square Garden with a voice that delivers soaring music and uncompromising Jewish liberalism.

Another first-timer is actor Jeremy Piven, who stars in HBO's "Entourage" as the brash, loathsome, exciting character based on real-life super-agent Ari Emanuel who also appears on this year's Forward 50 for being the first Tinseltown big-wig to denounce Mel Gibson's alcohol soaked anti-Semitic tirade.

This year's Forward 50 will include a special tribute to the "Gibson Gang" -- four Jews who played central roles in the Mel Gibson scandal and its fallout: the arresting officer, James Mee; Ari Emanuel, who first raised the cry for the entertainment industry to take action; Alan Neirob, Gibson's embattled media spokesman, and Boston Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, whose winning plays last summer became a rallying point for Jewish and non- Jewish fans.

There are several entertainment and culture reruns on this year's list, including "Daily Show" Host Jon Stewart, elevated this year to the 'Top 5', and award-winning author Philip Roth. Fellow writer Elie Wiesel rejoined the Forward 50 as his signature 1958 Holocaust narrative, "Night," returned to the best-seller list following his timely appearance on "Oprah." Ms. Winfrey turned to the Nobel Peace Prize winner's "Night" as a surefire lifesaver for "Oprah's Book Club" after one of her selections, "Million Little Pieces," was unmasked as a fraud. Wiesel also took the lead this year on several critical human rights issues, including his calls to end genocide in Darfur and to expel the holocaust-denying Iranian regime from the U.N.

The Forward 50 is not based on a scientific survey or a democratic election. Names have been suggested by readers and by the Forward staff. Each year's compilation is a journalistic effort to record some of the trends and events in American Jewish life in the year just ended and to illuminate some of the individuals likely to be in the news in the year ahead. Membership in the 50 doesn't mean the Forward endorses what these individuals do or say. They were chosen because they are doing and saying things that are making a difference in the way American Jews, for better or worse, view the world and themselves. Not all of them have put their energies into the traditional framework of Jewish community life, but all of them have embodied the spirit of Jewish action as it is emerging in America, and all of them have left a mark.

Please visit www.forward.com for the complete list of the Forward 50 membership for 2005 or email alc@alavin.com for a PDF file of the article.

ABOUT THE FORWARD (www.forward.com )

The Forward is widely regarded as American Jewry's essential newspaper of record. Published since 1990, the English language weekly grew out of the legendary Yiddish language Jewish Daily Forward, founded in 1897. The Forward is committed to rigorous reporting and balanced, thoughtful commentary on news, politics and culture in the Jewish world. The Forward's editor, veteran journalist and author J.J. Goldberg, and his staff have enhanced the paper's reputation for incisive, hard-hitting reportage with a populist, progressive spirit that has been the paper's hallmark since its early days. Headquartered in New York, the newspaper is owned by the Forward Association, Inc., a 501(c) (4) corporation. It is published on Fridays and is available on newsstands nationwide, as well as by subscription http://www.forward.com/

CONTACT: Andrew Lavin or Marisa Wetzel, A. Lavin Communications,

+1-212-290-9540, alc@alavin.com

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